The Supreme Court did not order the release of ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez when it ruled that Republic Act 10592 should be applied retroactively for qualified prisoners, the Supreme Court spokesman said Friday.
In a press briefing, SC public information office chief Atty. Brian Keith Hosaka said the High Court ruled only on the retroactive application of RA 10592 which increased good conduct time allowance of prisoners.
He said the basis of retroactive application of RA 10592 is the fundamental doctrine in criminal law that penal laws favorable and advantageous to accused are applied retroactively (Art 22, Revised Penal Code).
Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, was sentenced in 1995 to 7 counts of reclusion perpetua (or 40 years imprisonment) over the murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. Sarmenta was also found raped.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said Sanchez might be released because of a 2013 law increasing good conduct time allowance and a Supreme Court (SC) decision applying this law retroactively.
Although sentenced to 7 counts of reclusion perpetua, Sanchez stands to benefit from the 3-fold rule under the Revised Penal Code, which limits the service of sentence to a maximum of 3 times the harshest penalty but in no case more than 40 years.
The Revised Penal Code also allows the application of good conduct time allowances, which reduces the years and days spent in prison.
The periods for good conduct time allowance were increased in a 2013 law, Republic Act 10592, which expanded the application of good conduct time allowance for prisoners even during preventive imprisonment and increased the number of days that may be credited for good conduct.
News of Sanchez's release has caused widespread outrage, with close to 63,000 netizens on Thursday signing an online petition demanding that the government stop the impending release of the convicted rapist and murderer.
The Board of Pardons and Parole in 2018 also dismissed Sanchez's petition for executive clemency because of the extent of his crime, a document obtained by ABS-CBN showed.