The ex-Mayor Sanchez was sentenced to seven life terms for the rape of UP Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the double murder of the rape victim and her schoolmate Allan Gomez. If we multiplied seven life terms by 40 years, Sanchez should be in jail for 280 years.
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Best argument for death penalty
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2019 - 12:00am

The announcement that convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez will soon be released from prison may be a “trial balloon,” as in an attempt to test the waters of public opinion, or it could be a well planted “heads up” to warn people about the unknown judicial action of the Supreme Court to make space in the State Penitentiary or Bilibid. On the other hand, the unexpected consequence of the announcement is that it now provides supporters for the death penalty the best argument for why we should restore the death penalty.

The ex-Mayor Sanchez was sentenced to seven life terms for the rape of UP Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the double murder of the rape victim and her schoolmate Allan Gomez. If we multiplied seven life terms by 40 years, Sanchez should be in jail for 280 years. Add to that two more life sentences for a separate incident that involved the ambush of a political rival, the Mayor’s sentence would total to 360 years and not 25. From my recollection, the intention of the seven life terms was given by Judge Harriet Demetriou intending to make sure that Sanchez would rot in jail or never come out alive! Unfortunately, it seems that the current magistrates of the Supreme Court are more concerned with prison decongestion and prisoner benefits rather than meting out justice befitting the depravity and brutality of the crimes committed.

Facebook in the Philippines is currently loaded with stories and facts related to the depraved acts of Sanchez and his men and it is clear that after 25 years there is no forgetting and forgiving. It may not have been the intention of the Supreme Court Magistrates to let off Sanchez so lightly but such an error now is the perfect argument that we should simply hang certain criminals for particularly depraved or socially destructive crimes.

The interesting thing is that after less than 24 hours of the announcement, public and media uproar on the matter has been so strong that some government officials have started issuing comments that Sanchez is not necessarily qualified for the leniency program of the Supreme Court. That might be a blessing in disguise for Sanchez because at the rate things are going in the country, if he is actually released from Bilibid, he could still end up being a “Dead Man Walking” if he is targeted by the new breed of NPAs that operate in the region or in the hands of motorcycle riding assassins who have been known to target unpopular mayors and ex-mayors.

When Atty. Lorna Kapunan guested on our show AGENDA, she stressed that the important thing to do now is to put the pressure on the Justice department to take away the task or authority to determine who gets leniency from officials inside the state penitentiary or the Bureau of Corrections to avoid the likelihood of bribery and corruption. Frankly speaking one of the best suggestions I’ve heard is for President Duterte to torpedo the law that led to the leniency program because he is now being blamed or accused for a law that was passed before his time and approved by another president. 

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Malacanang ought to put on the brakes regarding plans to “restore” the iconic SWAT van that transported the body of Ninoy Aquino after he was brutally murdered on the tarmac of the MIAA. The word restore often connotes “to make as good as new”. Many restorers have made that mistake once too often and now veterans place greater value to original condition, faded paint, scratches, patina and all. When it comes to “historical” items, the worst thing you can do is to do a total makeover of the vehicle at a whopping P2 million!

I’ve heard of certain restoration projects in the past where government officials allegedly received cuts or attempted to insert commissions of “patong” on the acquisition and restoration of historical vehicles. The AVSECOM SWAT van should not be restored as if it will be exhibited in a car show. It should simply be scrubbed, sealed and buffed and presented as is inside a building or sheltered space. Anyone who pushes for the idea of making it look NOS or New Old Stock ought to be shot and transported in the same van because it would be historically sacrilegious and an unnecessary expense.  

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How can a government agency that has improved so much end up getting special mention and criticism in the SONA or State of the Nation Address? After writing in defense of the LTO post SONA, my neighbor Arps raised the possibility that someone or some people may have taken an interest to take over the LTO or get the job of LTO Chief Asec. Ed Galvante. I recently bumped into Asec. Galvante on the occasion of the LTO-NCR reaching P1.3 billion collection via E-payments with Landbank. I shared with Galvante what Arps said and the Asec revealed how shocked he was to learn that some people had been spreading the rumors in Malacanang that Galvante’s health had seriously deteriorated or that he was deathly sick! When I heard this, something clicked in my mind: the administration has just passed the midway/3rd year mark and it is often after the third year that opportunists and vultures try to grab plum posts in order to build up their “retirement funds”. Fortunately for Asec Galvante and the people of LTO, their efforts at reformation and modernization speak well for the agency and they are not without friends in media and in government. Perhaps we will soon get verifiable information who the vultures are who have been spreading rumors and wishing Galvante ill.

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