Taguig City – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said in an interview Monday morning during the commemoration of National Heroes Day at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Taguig City that President Rodrigo Duterte will not allow the release of convicted murderer and former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez.
“Miyerkules pa lang ng gabi (last week) narinig ko na po kay Pangulong Duterte na nag-order na po siya na hindi irerelease si Sanchez,” Go said.
He confirmed that the President gave instructions to Bureau of Correction (BuCor) chief Nicanor Faeldon and Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra last week not to release Sanchez.
“Gusto ko lang malaman ng publiko, na nang nalaman ni PRRD, pinarating na kay BuCor head Faeldon at DOJ Guevarra na huwag i-release upon the order of the higher authority, meaning, utos mula sa Pangulo,” Go explained further.
Go also emphasized that regardless of the amendment in Republic Act (RA) 10592, Sanchez would not qualify for possible earlier release since he was convicted of a heinous crime.
“Pinag-aaralan naman po ‘yang batas at nakalagay naman doon na excluded po ang (mga nagcommit) ng heinous crimes (sa mga pwedeng mag-qualify for possible earlier release),” Go explained.
Go stressed that Sanchez is better off in jail instead of being released, “Sabi ko nga kay Mr. Sanchez, ‘Huwag ka na mangarap lumaya pa. Pagdusahan mo na lang diyan sa loob (ng kulungan) at pagsisihan mo ang mga kasalanang nagawa mo.”
“Kung mangangarap ka pa na iikli ang iyong sentensya, mas iikli lang ang buhay mo. Diyan ka nalang sa loob at hintayin mo na lang na hatulan ka ni San Pedro,” Go added.
In 1995, Sanchez was convicted for the rape and murder of Mary Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her boyfriend Allan Gomez, both University of the Philippines Los Baños students. Sanchez received seven counts of reclusion perpetua.
Go said that he agrees with the stand of the Palace that criminals convicted of heinous crimes cannot qualify for good conduct time allowances (GCTA) for possible early release.
“Pinag-aaralan din po namin ni Pangulong Duterte ang batas at nakalagay naman po doon sa RA 10592 na excluded po ang heinous crimes,” he said.
Go said he supports the call of DOJ and fellow legislators to revisit and review the law further in order to remove any doubt and clarify contentious issues if whether criminals convicted of heinous crimes would qualify for GCTA as considerations for earlier release from prison.
“Alam ng Pangulo na hindi makakalabas si Sanchez. Alam niya kung ano nakasaad sa batas. Ang interpretasyon po ay excluded po siya (Sanchez) at ang mga nagcommit ng heinous crimes sa pwedeng magbenefit sa batas na ito,” Go said.
Go pointed out that there is no truth to claims that the reported possible earlier release of Sanchez was due to the efforts of alleged “backers”.
“Sa tingin ninyo papayag si PRRD sa ganung klaseng krimen na heinous crime, ay papayagan lumaya?” he retorted.
Go also dismissed reports that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo is involved or is in favor of the possible earlier release of Sanchez.
“Alam naman na lawyer po si (spokesperson) Panelo. Madami rin ‘yan naging kliyente bago pumasok (sa administrasyon). Naniniwala po ako kay Sal Panelo at full time ang kanyang pagiging Presidential Legal Counsel at Spokesperson,” he said.
“Karamihan naman ng mga abogado sa gobyerno ay may mga previous clients pero isinasantabi ito bilang may mas malaking mandato na sila sa taumbayan ngayon being an official of the Duterte Administration,” he added.
Go reiterated his push for the reinstatement of the death penalty for heinous crimes as a measure to fight criminality in the country.
“Panahon na para tingnan po natin ito. Huwag na lang puro bintang sa gobyerno. Isa po ako sa nagsusulong ng death penalty para sa heinous crimes para maitigil na ang krimen lalo na ang mga patayan at ang pagkalat ng illegal na droga sa bansa,” Go said.
Earlier last month, the Senator filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 207 that seeks to reinstate death penalty as punishment for heinous crimes involving illegal drugs and plunder. The bill states that this measure aims to effectively promote peace and order in the country. It also aims to support the relentless campaign of the current administration’s fight against illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.