Press Release
August 24, 2019

Hontiveros hails 'people's victory' in reversal of Sanchez's release

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Saturday described the reversal of the early release of rapist-slay convict and former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez as "the victory of a vigilant public."

"In a time of flip flop politics, the people's consistent vigilance and media's strong sense of history has kept Sanchez, an unrepentant and habitual criminal, behind bars," Hontiveros said.

"Ito ay tagumpay ng mapagmatyag na mamamayan, hindi ng mga baligtarin at kakampi ng mga abusado," Hontiveros added.

Last Tuesday, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that Sanchez, who was sentenced to serve seven life sentences for the rape and murder of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and her boyfriend Allan Gomez in 1993, may soon be released due to good behavior. He cited a Supreme Court ruling providing for the retroactive application of Republic Act 10592 which increases the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for convicted felons. The rule allows qualified inmates to be released early due to good behavior.

Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon confirmed this, saying that 11,000 inmates may be released in all penitentiaries around the country.

Both Guevarra and Faeldon have since backtracked, with the former saying that Sanchez can't be released and the latter announcing that only 1,000 inmates may be set for mass release.

Hontiveros said that the government must implement the law according to its true intent and thoroughly review all factors before applying clemency to sentences to avoid perverting the spirit of restorative justice. She reiterated that Sanchez is not qualified under the law due to his continued criminal behavior in the penitentiary.

"RA 10592 is a good law. It is consistent with the principles of restorative justice. Truly repentant and rehabilitated inmates should be given the chance to reintegrate into society. But only if their actions mirror positive behavorial change, accountability and genuine remorse. Kung may tunay na pagsisisi, pag-ako ng responsibilidad sa masamang gawain at ganap ng pagbabago sa sarili, may pag-asa ng bagong buhay," Hontiveros ended.

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