Convicted murderer and rapist former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez failed to pay damages as required by a Supreme Court ruling and this non-compliance goes against the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said.
The Senate conducted a hearing Monday to discuss Republic Act 10592 or the GCTA Law, which made headlines after reports that Sanchez will allegedly be released in accordance to its provisions.
Sanchez was sentenced to seven counts of life imprisonment for the rape-slay of UPLB student Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of Allan Gomez.
“May utos ang Korte Suprema, magbayad siya ng danyos, hindi ho siya nagbayad sa inyo ng danyos. Hindi siya sumunod sa Korte Suprema, sa utos ng korte. Pero ito ngayon, hindi na nga siya sumunod sa utos ng korte pero ang naging desisyon ay good conduct na siya. Secretary Guevarra, how can [one] be eligible for good conduct when [one] did not comply with the court ruling?” Pangilinan asked.
In response to Pangilinan’s question, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that compliance depends on the person’s ability to pay the civil liability.
“It is adding insult to injury on the part of those who have been injured and who have been precisely victimized. But now because of the implementation of the law and interpretations of the ruling of the law, someone who has not complied with the ruling of the court to pay damages…someone who has not precisely complied with the ruling of the court, has shown disrespect for the court ruling, can now avail of good conduct,” he said.
‘My world stopped’
Both Sarmenta and Gomez families confirmed that they have not been informed about the impending release of Sanchez, contrary to the provisions of the law, nor were they compensated for the crimes.
“Yes, it supposed to be affirmed by the Supreme Court that they are supposed to pay us but not even a single centavo or any emissary came to us for that matter,” said Eileen’s mother, Mrs. Maria Clara Sarmenta.
“Kaya nga po papaano naging good conduct po siya eh ‘yung inuutos sa kanya ng batas hindi sinusunod. Tapos nabasa po namin sa kanyang general clemency, sabi po niya na pinatawad na namin siya. How can you forgive somebody who hasn’t even asked for sorry,” she said.
Aside from Mrs. Sarmenta, also present in the hearing was Allan’s mother, Illuminda Gomez, who had to be rushed to the hospital due to high blood pressure after giving her statement.
“Sa totoo lang po, araw-araw, gabi-gabi, nanginginig po ako every time I see Sanchez on the TV na tatawa-tawa pa siya,” Mrs. Sarmenta said.
“My world stopped,” she added.
Department Order 953
Pangilinan also questioned Guevarra over the implementation of the GCTA after the justice secretary reveal that he did not receive any request from the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) regarding the release of Sanchez.
The senator said the interpretation and implementation of the law have become so absurd, citing a situation of patently bad behavior (stabbing) inside the prison that is not considered when deciding on the prisoner’s release.
“So, kung ganoon ang interpretasyon, kung ikaw ay behaved nang isang buwan, 30 days automatic dagdag sa [good behavior points]. Pero kung sa susunod na buwan, tatlong beses ka may sinaksak walang good behavior. Pero sa susunod buwan, ‘yung pangatlong buwan, behaved ka na naman, wala ka na namang kaso, wala kang sasaksakin 30 days na naman.Tama ba ang batas na pag-implementa sa ganun? I don’t think that is the intention of the law and the lawmakers,” he said.
The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, September 3 to further discuss the matter.