Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo announces that Antonio Sanchez, the convicted rapist-killer of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez murder is not qualified for good conduct time allowance (GCTA) system benefits, said Friday during Malacañang press conference.
“Mr. Sanchez under Republic Act 10592 is not eligible so the President, as chief enforcer of the law, will have to follow the law,” Panelo says.
Ex-Palawan Mayor Antonio Sanchez is currently serving a seven 40-year sentence is convicted of raping and killing UP Los Baños students and couple Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez in 1993 where Panelo happened to be Sanchez’ lawyer.
Eileen Sarmenta’s murder case story rose from the dead when Bureau of Corrections Chief Nicanor Faeldon announced on Tuesday, August 20 that Sanchez may be one of the 11,000 convicts that may be freed within the next two months under Republic Act 10592. The statement was later backed up by Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra saying, “(it) depends on the recomputation, but Sanchez is very likely for release.”
It is not only the Palace who changed their tunes amidst the rallies and petitions Sanchez’ chance of liberty, Faeldon and Guevarra took back their statements on Thursday saying Sanchez will not be qualified because of his violations inside Bilibid sighting, “if a person is charged with a heinous crime, he is not qualified at all.”
Senator and former PNP Chief Bato Dela Rosa also had a change of heart when he said Sanchez should have been sentenced to death due to the gravity of his crime, said Thursday. It was only on Tuesday when Bato received criticisms when he told that Sanchez “deserves a second chance.”
Netizens fight for Eileen Sarmenta
Since then the heinous crime happened 26 years ago is all over the news, especially in social media. Netizens, from every generation, have gathered interest in the case.
Sarmenta and Gomez’ family and friends, including those who fought to put Sanchez behind bars cry for justice. Strikes against freeing Sanchez’ were organized. An online petition from Change.org to stop Sanchez’ release already gathered more than 26,000 signatures since its launch on Thursday.