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furor over sanchez: Lady judge hits Faeldon, Bato, Sal Panelo, too

TABACO CITY --- Former Judge Harriet Demetriou called on members of Congress to investigate officials of the Bureau Correction (BuCor) and find out why the name of former Mayor Antonio Sanchez of Calauan, Laguna was included in the list of prisoners supposed to be freed on Aug. 20 with the application of Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) under Republic Act No. 10592.

Sanchez in 1995 was sentenced to seven terms of up to 40 years each for rape-slay of UP student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her friend Allan Gomez. The gravity of the crimes (heinous) disqualifies Sanchez from the reduced sentence provision of RA No. 10592, experts said.

The Bicolana judge likewise asked for the resignation of Pres. Duterte’s spokesperson and presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo for not properly advising Bucor Chief Nicanor Faeldon about Sanchez and the latter’s disqualification from being granted freedom.

She said being the legal adviser, Panelo should have advised Faeldon about the provisions of RA 10492. “Ang nangyari pinabayaan niya dahil dating abogado siya ni Sanchez,” the former lady judge said.

Therefore, Panelo had a vested interest; what protection the public has if people in government violate the principle of the law? Demetriou asked.

Latest national TV report has it that the former mayor’s release documents have already been signed as claimed by the convicted rapist and killer himself but which claim was denied by the Department of Justice.

Demetriou in a press conference held at her residence here on Wednesday said Congress must investigate BuCor chief Faeldon and other officials for violating the salient provisions of RA 10592 which, among others, disqualify Sanchez to be included in the list of 200 inmates eligible to be granted freedom under the guidelines of the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA).

She cited a section under RA 10592 that clearly states that persons convicted of heinous crimes are disqualified to be given such GCTA privilege.

She said “this Faeldon should be answerable whether he indeed reviewed the case of Sanchez and found him to be eligible under the GCTA guidelines.”

She recalled that in 1995 she was the presiding Regional Trial Court (RTC) judge that convicted Sanchez and sentenced him to seven counts of Reclusion Perpetua or 40 years of imprisonment for each count of the crime committed.

When asked if she would be willing to serve as resource person if invited in a congressional hearing, she quickly replied: “There’s no problem about it -- I am willing.”

“I really wanted to hear and face Faeldon, Salvador Panelo, and Bato De La Rosa and to know what they have to say about the case,” she said.

Demetriou said she would also have the opportunity to ask the congressional probe body whether the reported illegal drug possession in Sanchez detention cell in 2015 was included in the GCTA evaluation.

She reminded that De la Rosa was then the prison director during that time when he was not yet a senator. “I just want to know what action he (Dela Rosa) took when the illegal drug case was investigated, if indeed it was investigated?” she wondered.

When asked to react to Dela Rosa’s statement asking to “Give him [Sanchez] a second chance” because “he is now a changed man,” Demetriou countered: “that is irrelevant as Sanchez was convicted of heinous crime by a court. Whether or not he has changed doesn’t matter.”

“Ang pinaglalaban ko dito ay ang justisya, ang katotohanan,; hindi lamang Sarmienta at ang Gomez family ang pinalalaban dito. Ito ay para sa lahat ng Pilipino,” (What I am fighting for is justice and truth not only for the families of the Sarmienta and Gomez but for all of the Filipinos), she concluded.

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