'A plot hatched in hell': Timeline of the Gomez-Sarmenta murder case

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2019 08:28 PM | Updated as of Aug 23 2019 05:05 AM

Convicted rapist and murderer ex-Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez is poised to walk free in 2 months, according to authorities. 

Sanchez masterminded the murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) students Eileen Sarmenta and her companion Allan Gomez - regarded by many as one of the most dramatic murder cases in the 1990s. 

Here is a look back on the case: 

• June 28, 1993

On June 28, 1993, Sanchez's 6 henchmen kidnapped Sarmenta and Gomez just outside the UP Los Baños campus, and presented the girl to him as a "gift" in a farm rest house in Laguna. 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.

• August 13, 1993

Sanchez was arrested, but maintained he was innocent. He then accused Kit Alqueza, son of Gen. Dictador Alqueza, who was charged of masterminding Gomez's killing. 

• September 12, 1993 

The court formally read the case against Sanchez, along with the 6 henchmen: Then Calauan deputy chief of police George Medialdea, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Zoilo Ama, Pepito Kawit, and Baldwin Brion. 

Witnesses, drivers of the vehicles used during the crime, also said Sanchez did not have any bottom garments at the time of the incident and was accompanied by Sarmenta, who was seemingly weak. 

• January 25, 1995 

In a hearing, Sanchez denied the allegations against him. 

"Nakaderetso po ang mukha ko sa kanilang lahat. Kahit tadtarin kami nila nang pinung-pino, wala po kaming mga kasalanan sa kanila at wala po kaming ginagahasa sa kanila at wala po kaming pinapatay na tao sa kanila," he said. 

(I can look them straight in the eye. Even if they could crush us into fine pieces, we know we have not done anything wrong, we have not raped anyone, and we have not killed anyone.) 

The case thrust Sanchez into the national consciousness, cutting a curious figure that bordered on the eccentric and the bizarre. He is said to be vain, a lover of imported perfumes and collagen treatments for his skin. 

• January 25, 1995

Sanchez's lawyers Mario Ongkiko, Antonio Bucoy, and Ernesto Brion begged off from the case following a "serious professional disagreement." 

Among those left to tend for the cases are Salvador Panelo, now chief presidential legal adviser, and Marcelino Arias. 

• March 11, 1995

The Pasig City Regional Trial Court found Sanchez guilty of the rape-slay and sentenced him to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment for each term). The Calauan mayor was also told to pay millions in damages to the Gomez and Sarmenta families. 

Judge Harriet Demetriou, likened the rape-slay of Sarmenta and Gomez's murder to "a plot seemingly hatched in hell."

After his sentencing, Sanchez, who projected himself as a religious man with his Marian devotion, was rushed out of the court building cursing. 

• October 10, 2006

During a surprise inspection, authorities found shabu and marijuana inside Sanchez's jail. He was charged with possession of illegal drugs. 

• July 2010- 2015

In 2010, Sanchez was caught again with P1.5 million worth of shabu concealed in a statue of the Virgin Mary. An airconditioning unit and a flat-screen TV were also seized from him during a raid in 2015.

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• August 20, 2019 

Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon said Antonio Sanchez was likely to be released in 2 months, which according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was due to a new law increasing good conduct time allowance and a Supreme Court (SC) decision applying this law retroactively. 

Faeldon said inmates who were imprisoned from the 1990s will be included in the mass jail release - a move aimed to help decongest overcrowding jails in the country. 

• August 21, 2019 

Ma. Clara Sarmenta, Eileen's mother, said they plan to appeal the possible release of Sanchez, adding she was "shocked" after being informed that the convicted killer of her daughter was a candidate for release.

She also urged authorities to prove Sanchez exhibited good behavior in jail. 

News of Sanchez's release has since sparked outrage.

• August 22, 2019 

Amid rumors that Sanchez had freely been in and out of prison, prison guards allowed the media to take fresh photos of the convicted murderer. 

Several senators also Sanchez does not deserve to be released from jail.

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Amid uproar, BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon changed tune and said Sanchez may be disqualified from the good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) rule based on several grounds.