MANILA – The family of 1993 rape-slay victim Eileen Sarmenta has called on authorities to show them concrete proof of good behavior by former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez that makes him a candidate to walk free from prison.
A new law increasing good conduct time allowance (GCTA) and a Supreme Court decision allowing that law to be applied retroactively can mean at least 11,000 inmates may be released in the next few months, including the former mayor.
But Sarmenta's mother, Ma. Clara, claimed that the Justice Department did not even notify them about Sanchez's impending release. Sanchez gained notoriety for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students, Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.
“As far as we know, it was supposed to be channeled to the Board of Pardons and Parole and if he has a petition, filed for a parole dapat binigyan kami ng notice...Kaya kami hindi po kami nakapag-take ng any course of action kasi wala po sa amin nakarating na meron siyang petition for that," she added.
She said she would also seek ways to block the possible release of convicted rapist-murderer.
“Hindi pa po kami nakapag-consult sa lawyer but what we’re planning to do is go to the Board of Pardons and Parole tomorrow, bring a letter of appeal para hindi matuloy ang sinasabi nila na makalaya si Sanchez, based on this, na hindi naman kami na-inform,” Sarmenta said.
(We have yet to consult a lawyer but what we’re planning to do is go to the Board of Pardons and Parole tomorrow, bring a letter of appeal so Sanchez won't get to walk free.)
Sarmenta said she was heartbroken upon hearing the news about Sanchez' possible release.
"To tell you the truth, I wasn't able to sleep last night. Everything came back to me. the pain, the struggle, bringing back our lives together. Bumalik ulit lahat 'yun. I'm really sorry that I'm crying," she said.
Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) director general Nicanor Faeldon on Tuesday confirmed that Sanchez could be among the 11,000 eligible for release in the next 2 months, after the Supreme Court decision to apply retroactively a new law increasing good conduct time allowance.
Sanchez, known for his mop top hair and public displays of Marian devotion, was sentenced to life in prison in 1995.
On June 28, 1993, Sanchez's 6 henchmen kidnapped Sarmenta and Gomez and presented the girl to him as a "gift." The mayor raped Sarmenta, handed her over to the 6 to be raped again before she was shot in the face, according to court records.
Then Pasig RTC judge Harriet Demetriou, who convicted Sanchez and his men, called it "a plot seemingly hatched in hell."
In a 1993 ruling that denied Sanchez's challenge against Demetriou, the Supreme Court said "There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor Antonio L. Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, who stands accused of an unspeakable crime."