MANILA — Convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez is "not eligible for a second chance" under a 2013 law that could release him from prison due to good conduct, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday.
Sanchez, who was behind the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and her companion Allan Gomez, committed numerous violations while incarcerated, including illegal drug possession and having a luxurious “kubol” or room inside the national penitentiary, noted Robredo.
"Hindi naman ito eligible bigyan ng second chance," she said in her radio show on RMN-DXZL 558.
"Kasi iyong pagkakakulong sa kaniya, iyon na iyong chance niyang mag-reform, ‘di ba… Pero itong si Mayor Sanchez, nakakulong, ilang beses nahulihan ng drugs, ng shabu, ilang beses na maraming violations,” she added.
(He is not eligible to be given a second chance. His incarceration was a chance for him to reform But Mayor Sanchez in several instances was caught keeping drugs, shabu, and several other violations.)
Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, earlier said Sanchez deserves a "second chance." After drawing public ire, the police chief-turned-lawmaker later said Sanchez should have been sentenced to death.
Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, might be released because of 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, Justice Menardo Guevarra said last week.
While the measure carries good intentions, there is a problem with its implementation, said Robredo.
"Napakaganda niya kasi binibigyan ng pagkakataon iyong mga nagkasalang magbagong-buhay," she said.
"Ang problema talaga hindi iyong batas, pero iyong implementasyon. Saka ang problema, iyong mga may kaya, iyong mga mayayaman, may kapangyarihan… sila iyong gumagamit ng mga paraan para makaiwas sa batas," she added.
(It is very good because it gives a chance to those who sinned to change their lives. The problem is not the law, but the implementation. The problem is that those who have wealth and power are using means to evade the law.)
Robredo, who is a lawyer, also rejected renewed calls to reinstate the death penalty over the issue.
"Iyong mga mahihirap na walang means para kumuha ng mga mahuhusay na abogado, sila naman iyong lugi. Ang dapat gawin ay ayusin iyong justice system natin,” she said.
(The poor who have no means to get good attorneys will be at the losing side. What should be done is fix our justice system.)