MANILA (UPDATE) - The Department of Justice on Thursday said it would scrutinize the record of rape-murder convict Antonio Sanchez in prison to determine if he is eligible for release for good conduct.
DOJ Undersecretary and spokesperson Markk Perete made the remark after public outcry at Sanchez' supposed impending freedom due to a new law increasing the good conduct time allowance for inmates and a Supreme Court decision applying this law retroactively.
"While potential na beneficiary si Mayor Sanchez and many others, the evaluation of record will also be the determinant nung entitlement nila sa benefits ng batas (of their entitlement to the benefits of the law)," he told radio DZMM.
"What we can assure the public is 'yung benefits ng batas (the benefits of the law) will be given only to those entitled. We will scrutinize the records, make sure hindi mabibigyan ng benepisyo yung 'di karapat-dapat (that benefits will not be given to the undeserving)."
Questions were raised 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.
"If ever these reports are confirmed, and again this is subject to evaluation and re-evaluation ng monitoring team natin, once they are confirmed then pwede natin masagot kung entitled siya (we can answer if he's entitled) to the deductions in the first place," Perete said.
Perete said the evaluation would take a while since there are some 11,000 detainees that may avail of the new law's benefits.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the Bureau of Corrections would review Sanchez's good conduct time allowance next month.
Sanchez was convicted on March 11, 1995 by Judge Harriet Demetriou, who said that the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and torture of Allan Gomez was “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”
--With a report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News