26 years, still no apology: Victims' kin reject freedom for rapist-killer Sanchez

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2019 08:36 PM

MANILA - More than 20 years since committing his crime, former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez has yet to apologize to the families of his victims.

The families of rape-slay victim, Eileen Sarmenta, and her slain companion Allan Gomez had to nurse old wounds after news that Sanchez would be freed soon due to good conduct.

In a Senate inquiry on Monday, Gomez and Sarmenta’s mothers, Illuminada and Maria Clara, said they oppose a reduced prison term for Sanchez because the latter has not yet even apologized for what he did and indemnified their families.

“Not at all,” Gomez said when asked by Sen. Richard Gordon whether Sanchez has apologized for his misdeeds.

An emotional Gomez had to be brought to the Senate infirmary after her blood pressure shot up while sharing the anguish of learning that Sanchez would be released early.

“I asked myself, ‘is there something that God has wanted me to do as yet?” Gomez said.

Maria Clara, meanwhile, said it irked her every time she would see Sanchez on the television, smiling.

“Ang sakit kasi sa dibdib ko yung manumbalik ang nangyari sa anak ko nung 1993 kaya ho ako ganito,” Sarmenta said.

“Sa totoo lang po araw-araw, gabi-gabi nanginginig ako everytime I see Sanchez on TV na tatawa-tawa pa siya.”

Sarmenta also backtracked on her earlier statement calling for the reimposition of death penalty because of news of Sanchez’s then-impending release.

“That was a spur of the moment when I said yes to restoring death penalty,” Sarmenta said.

“When I thought it over, being a Christian I would rather have life sentence, because in death penalty it’s only one injection tulog na siya. In life sentence, the prisoner would be given the chance to be reformed also.”

Sanchez was sentenced to 7 reclusion perpetua terms (40 years each) for the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen and the torture-killing of her companion Allan.

Sanchez maintains his innocence, saying he was a victim of a frame-up by his political enemies.

The Board of Pardons and Parole in December 2018 dismissed Sanchez’s petition for executive clemency. It upheld the dismissal of Sanchez’s appeal in February.