MANILA - Former corrections chief Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said Wednesday convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez "deserves a second chance."
This, amid uproar over the impending release of the former Calauan, Laguna mayor after imprisonment for 24 years- far less than his sentence of 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (40 years) over the rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the slay of her companion Allan Gomez in June 1993.
Sanchez was convicted on March 11, 1995 by Judge Harriet Demetriou, who said his crime was “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”
"(If) it is determined by the Board of Pardon(s) and Parole that he (Sanchez) deserved that commutation, then why not?" Dela Rosa told ANC Wednesday.
"He deserve(s) a second chance in life."
Previous reports said Sanchez might be released because of a new law increasing the good conduct time allowance for inmates and a Supreme Court (SC) decision applying this law retroactively.
Dela Rosa, former chief of the Bureau of Corrections, said the convicted rapist and murderer became a "changed man" inside the New Bilibid Prison.
"According to corrections officers, nagbait na daw [si Sanchez]. In fact, nakikita nila na nagpapalda na nga daw, so changed man na talaga siya, changed man," Dela Rosa said.
(According to corrections officers, Sanchez has changed for the better. In fact, they see him wearing skirts, so he's a changed man for sure, a changed man.)
"Bumait na, hindi na siga," he added.
(He's changed, he's not a bully anymore.)
Questions were raised, however, over how Sanchez could qualify for good conduct when he was caught with P1.5 million worth of shabu hidden in a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary in his cell in 2010.
An airconditioning unit and a flat-screen TV were also seized from him during a raid in 2015.