MANILA - The common-law wife of convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez may be charged with perjury if she lied under oath about a text message on his possible release, Sen. Franklin Drilon said Wednesday.
Elvira Sanchez on Tuesday told lawmakers that she met Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon in August after an anonymous person texted her, saying her husband would soon be released from prison due to good conduct.
She said she no longer had the messages because she destroyed her cellphone out of frustration and fear due to the death threats she received after Monday’s Senate hearing into the issue.
"Medyo hindi naman po itinatapon at pangkaraniwang ginagawa na itatapon mo ang telepono mo kung wala kang itinatago," Drilon told radio DZMM.
"Kung mapatunayan naming nagsisinungaling s'ya, meron s'yang pananagutan sa ilalim ng Revised Penal Code. Perjury po iyan," he added.
(It's unusual that you would throw away your cellphone if you have nothing to hide. If we prove that she lied, she would be liable under the Revised Penal Code. That's perjury.)
Drilon said he was trying to get a copy of the text messages and trace Elvira's possible contact from the national penitentiary, based on a mobile number she gave.
Faeldon earlier admitted meeting with the Sanchez family, but he denied promising them anything about the release of the former Laguna mayor convicted in the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the torture-killing of her companion Allan Gomez.
The Bureau of Corrections chief said he signed in August a memorandum recommending freedom for Sanchez, but he stopped the process "because I believe he is not entitled."
Faeldon in the same month also signed release orders for 3 men convicted in the 1990s rape-slay of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong.
The Senate on Thursday will resume its inquiry into the implementation of the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
Drilon said it would be up to Sen. Richard Gordon, who leads the hearing as chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, to decide on whether or not to summon Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, a former lawyer of Sanchez.
Panelo said Tuesday he wrote to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) in February, seeking an update on Sanchez's application for executive clemency.