MANILA - The mother of Eileen Sarmenta on Thursday said she was open to second chances but the rapist and murderer of her daughter should not be freed because he is an unrepentant "menace to society."
"I encourage [a] second chance to fix their life but for me kung lumabas si [Antonio] Sanchez ang aking perception diyan is he is a menace to the society. Matanda na siya eh. You know the saying goes...hindi mo na mapapabago ang matandang tao," Maria Clara Sarmenta said.
(I encourage [a] second chance to fix their life but for me if Sanchez is released my perception is he is a menace to the society. He's old. You know the saying goes...you can't make old people change.)
"Kung lumabas man siya ngayon, ipalaya siya natatakot ako because he’s a menace to society," she said.
(If he is released now, I fear that he's a menace to society.)
Sarmenta said Sanchez had "no remorse at all" for the crime he committed.
"Nung nandodoon nga sa courtroom tinitingnan niya kami na parang kami ang may kasalanan [kung] bakit nililitis siya," she said.
(When we were in the courtroom he looked at us as if it was our fault why he was on trial.)
"Parang kami yung kriminal. Parang kami yung sinisisi niya, ganun siya."
(It was like we were the criminals, as if he was blaming us. He was like that.)
Sarmenta made the remark after Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said the former Calauan town mayor, who was convicted of the rape and murder of Eileen and torture and murder of her companion Allan Gomez, "deserved a second chance."
"According to corrections officers, nagbait na daw [si Sanchez]. In fact, nakikita nila na nagpapalda na nga daw, so changed man na talaga siya, changed man," Dela Rosa said.
(According to corrections officers, Sanchez has changed for the better. In fact, they see him wearing skirts, so he's a changed man for sure, a changed man.)
"Bumait na, hindi na siga," he added.
(He's changed, he's not a bully anymore.)
Asked whether she would support the revival of death penalty, Sarmenta said: "Siguro (probably), I will support pero (but) I can’t find a reason now for supporting. Parang mababawasan siguro yung mga sobrang sama na criminal. (Maybe heinous criminals will be lessened.)"
The looming release of Sanchez has sparked public outcry, and now the Bureau of Corrections has clarified that the former mayor's freedom was not guaranteed under a new law increasing the good conduct time allowance for inmates.
Sarmenta earlier called on authorities to show concrete proof of Sanchez's good behavior, adding she would seek means to block his impending release.
WHAT WENT BEFORE
On June 21, 1993, Sanchez's 6 henchmen kidnapped Sarmenta and Gomez and presented the girl to him as a "gift." 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.
Then Pasig RTC judge Harriet Demetriou, who convicted Sanchez and his men, called it "a plot seemingly hatched in hell."
In a 1993 ruling that denied Sanchez's challenge against Demetriou, the Supreme Court said "There is probably no more notorious person in the country today than Mayor Antonio L. Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna, who stands accused of an unspeakable crime."
Over the years, Sanchez made headlines for possessing illegal drugs and living a lavish life even while in jail.