A comment on the release of Mayor Sanchez
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - August 23, 2019 - 12:00am

It seems that tropical depression Ineng (international name Bailu) intensified into a tropical storm last Wednesday and PAGASA said it is not expected to further strengthen to a typhoon. This means we are going to have a wet weekend because “Ineng” will be out of Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) by Sunday. The state weather bureau said "Ineng" is not expected to further strengthen into a typhoon and would retain its tropical storm category while inside the PAR.

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There seems to be a huge howl of protest from people, especially netizens, that former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was convicted for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, will likely walk free.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Sanchez may be released from prison along with at least 11,000 inmates in the next two months because of a new law increasing good conduct time allowance (GCTA) and a Supreme Court decision applying the same law retroactively. The DOJ secretary said that Sanchez will benefit from Republic Act 10592, which amended provisions of the Revised Penal Code and allowed the credit of preventive imprisonment and revision of GCTA of persons deprived of liberty.

Why then are netizens worried about the pending release of the Laguna mayor even when he has served his sentence? I can only second guess that people wanted life imprisonment for him. Some even said that we should bring back the death penalty so that we would no longer see the likes of Antonio Sanchez. I can understand why this law allows the release of prisoners who are found in good behavior. However, it is unfortunate that we cannot find forgiveness in the hearts of many people who would have wanted Sanchez to languish in jail for the rest of his life. But since Sanchez was imprisoned since 1993 or 26 years, perhaps a review of his time in jail would be needed in order to appease many people.

I’m sure that Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon will conduct a review of the case of Sanchez because he was sentenced to 40 years in jail and served for only 26 years. Chances are, the relatives of those whom he killed will contest his release. Meanwhile, DOJ and BuCor officials said that the mass release of prisoners would decongest the national penitentiary and other jails in the country, which we really need to decongest.

Meanwhile, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo denied having a hand in the impending release of Sanchez, who was his former client, as he stressed that rule of law, not emotion, must prevail in the case of the convicted rapist and murderer. Secretary Panelo said he had withdrawn from the case before the conviction was appealed. He added that there is no need for anyone to intervene to release Sanchez if the former mayor is qualified for parole under the law. Well, we didn’t know that Panelo was once the lawyer of Sanchez, but that was long ago and I’d like to point out that President Duterte has no link to the former mayor of Laguna.

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We read in the news that former Provincial Board member and incumbent Talisay City councilor Julian “Teban” Daan succumbed to heart failure at 4:50 p.m. at the Chong Hua Hospital in Cebu City the other day. He was 74. Councilor Daan, was a famous radio talent, was last seen in public attending the Philippine Councilor’s League Cebu chapter election. He was not able to finish the activity because he had difficulty in breathing.

Councilor Teban was brought to the hospital where his wife, PB Member Yolanda “Yoly” Daan was also confined for kidney dialysis since Saturday. Councilor Teban had been under medication since undergoing a heart bypass operation in December 2013. Days after his operation, Teban also underwent another surgery, this time for intestinal bleeding, in January 2014. He has also been under dialysis. Indeed there has been a surge of patients since with kidney-related illnesses. I also had my kidney transplant two and a half years ago. I would like to request our pious readers to please pray for the repose of his soul.

 

ANTONIO SANCHEZ
Philstar
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