Early release ‘impossible’ for Antonio Sanchez – BuCor chief

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FILE PHOTO. Former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, along with other six individuals, was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder case of University of the Philippines Los Banos students Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez in 1993.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 23) — It is “impossible” for rape-murder convict Antonio Sanchez to walk free soon even if he benefits from the good conduct-based sentence reduction policy, Bureau of Corrections Director Nicanor Faeldon said Friday.

Faeldon said the recomputation of Sanchez’s time allowance based on his supposed good conduct behind bars will only begin in 2015, the year when he last committed a violation inside the New Bilibid Prison.

“Let’s say in 2015 he has never violated any prison rules anymore, then he may be entitled to three years good conduct time allowance and it will never suffice to let him go,” the director told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“As far as my appreciation of the law is concerned, it is impossible. In the next several years talagang malabo pa ‘yan, baka abutin na sya ng maximum service of his sentence,” Faeldon added.

In 2015, an air conditioning unit and flatscreen TV were seized from his cell at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"One of the 49 violations of prison rules is when you live luxuriously inside our facilities... So everyday, you're violating prison rules. So it's very specific so mukhang hindi talaga mabibigyan ng good conduct time allowance ang sinumang preso na namuhay nang luxurious sa kanyang mga kubol," Faeldon said.

Sanchez, along with other six individuals, was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder case of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez in 1993.They were sentenced to seven terms of reclusion perpetua or up to 40 years of imprisonment. This would total to 280 years, but the law only allows a maximum prison time of 40 years.

The former mayor was reportedly among the 11,000 inmates and detainees who will benefit from a 2013 law increasing good conduct time allowance (GCTA). The policy, enacted by then President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was designed to be applied prospectively, which means it would only cover those convicted by the time it was passed into law. A Supreme Court ruling, however, approved a petition which sought the retroactive implementation of the measure.

READ: The heinous crimes of ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who may soon be freed

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Faeldon has earlier said Sanchez may not likely be eligible for the GCTA given the violations he committed while in prison.

“At first glance of his records here, he (Sanchez) may not qualify for good conduct time allowance,” the director said in a media briefing Thursday.

He asserted that inmates who are involved in illegal drug trade will certainly be excluded from the sentence deduction system.

"Clearly 'pag drug lord ka, hindi ka kasama sa good conduct time allowance. Pag-entitled ka pa niyan, sino pa ang good behavior dito, e di wala na?" he said.

Despite his incarceration in the maximum security compound of the NBP, Sanchez has been found to have violated prison laws by smuggling illegal drugs and contraband in his jail cell, according to several news reports.

Prior to Sanchez's 2015 violation, drug charges were reportedly filed against him in 2006 for possession of shabu and marijuana leaves. Four years later, he was caught with one kilogram of shabu hidden in a Virgin Mary statue; he allegedly sold the ₱1.5 million-worth of illegal drugs to his fellow inmates.

Record review

Faeldon said Sanchez’s records in prison may be reviewed next month. He urged the public to witness the evaluation.

“It’s not true na nasa table ko na [Sanchez’s records] because wala po sya dun sa priority. We are conducting the recomputation, the evaluation based on first in and out.… kung sino ‘yung unang nakulong sya ‘yung una nating sinasalang,” BuCor Director Nicanor Faeldon told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

“We are expecting by early next month baka marating na dun sa queueing nya… baka makarating na kay ex-mayor Sanchez. We invite the public and all those interested to witness the conduct of the management screen evaluation,” the director said.

“We will not be violating any [law] because the mayor will not be there. We will only refer to all his records, documents lang ‘yan and we will show all his record,” he added.