MANILA — Some of them were not even born when then Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez committed the gruesome crime, but millennials are joining the protest against his likely freedom in a platform they are most comfortable with - online.
Close to 63,000 netizens on Thursday have already "signed" an online petition demanding that the government stop the impending release of the convicted rapist and murderer.
Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, was sentenced in 1995 to 7 counts of reclusion perpetua (or 40 years imprisonment) over the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of Allan Gomez.
The Change.org petition, created by user B Vergara, said Sanchez "must remain incarcerated for the duration of his lifetime." Vergara claims he and Gomez were friends.
"We petition the Department of Justice to stop Sanchez's release and affirm his seven life sentences. He used his power and position to kidnap, rape and murder. His actions terrorized a university and an entire town. For full justice to be served, he must remain incarcerated for the duration of his lifetime," the online petition read.
As of 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 62,000 online users joined the petition.
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 at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City in 2010. An airconditioning unit and a flat-screen TV were also seized from him during a raid in 2015.
Several senators have already questioned the eligibility of Sanchez for release, with one legislator eyeing an inquiry over the controversial application of the law.
"He is charged with engaging in drug trading inside Bilibid penitentiary and on that basis alone he cannot qualify to avail of the benefits under the law," said Sen. Franklin Drilon, who was also the justice secretary at the time of Sanchez’s conviction.
Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon on Thursday said Sanchez may in fact be disqualified from the GCTA rule based on several grounds.