The wife of convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez said that their family would not pay P12.67 million indemnity awarded to the families of the ex-mayor’s victims, Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.
On Tuesday, the Senate held a second hearing on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon asked Sanchez’s family if they already had given the victims’ families the court-ordered indemnity.
“Actually, your honor, wala po talaga kaming intensyon,” Sanchez’s wife, Elvira, said.
She also insisted that they do not have to pay since she believed that her husband was innocent.
“Laging paulit-ulit namin sinasabi, ‘Bakit po kami magbabayad? Eh wala naman pong kasalanan ang aking asawa,“ she added.
In 1995, the former mayor was sentenced of seven terms of 40-year imprisonment for murdering the two students of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). In 1999, however, the Supreme Court ordered him to pay a total of P12,671,900 in compensation to Sarmenta and Gomez families.
According to Drilon, it was “unjust” for them to ask for their father’s early release when they could not even pay the indemnity to the victims.
“Humihingi kayo ng pardon, executive clemency, pabor. Pero ito, ayaw ‘nyo bayaran?” he said.
So a remedy to the victims’ families, Drilon invited the Department of Justice (DOJ) mediate and release a writ of execution. However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra acknowledged that there is a prescriptive period in issuing the order.
“Why don’t you let the court decide on the prescriptive period? Let the Sanchez family oppose a writ of execution, but at least to show to the people that we are consistent in our pursuit of justice,” Drilon replied.
“Initiate an application for writ of execution to the court and leave it to the court, to Sanchez, to the Supreme Court to decide as to whether is valid or not,” the minority leader added.
Guevarra, on the other hand, agreed and said that his department can do so.
Sanchez’s lack of remorse
Furthermore, Sen. Richard Gordon asked the justice secretary if Sanchez’s refusal to pay the families of the victims and him showing remorse would qualify him to benefit from the GCTA.
In response, Guevarra said that the lack of remorse and failure to indemnify his victims “speak so much about the moral fiber of the person concerned.”
“In my opinion, that is something that should be taken into account as well when the PDL’s [person deprived of liberty] good conduct or behavior is the subject of consideration,” he said.
Gordon then suggested that the Board of Pardons and Parole should also observe the offender’s lack of remorse while reconsidering applications for pardon or clemency.
The GCTA law or the Republic Act No. 10592 allows a reduction in the sentence of the convict based on his good behavior.
The law received a huge attention not only to lawmakers but to the public as well, following the announcement of Sanchez’s early release.
Justice officials later stopped his release due to public outrage and said that he was not at all eligible to be granted GTCA as he committed heinous crimes and violated measures inside the prison.