Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said Tuesday that he is ready to face the Senate and House of Representatives hearings regarding the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
GCTA, otherwise known as Republic Act No. 10592, pertains to the law that shortens prison terms because of good behavior. However, there is much contention if this law excludes heinous crimes or not.
Ready to Answer
Panelo, one of the lawyers of convicted former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, is on the hot seat after he made a referral of Sanchez’s executive clemency request to the Boards of Pardons and Parole (BPP).
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite insisted that Panelo should be questioned for his action as it could be interpreted as “intervention to act favorably on the application of early release of his [Panelo] former client.”
“Of course, of course,” Panelo briefly said in an interview over DZMM when asked if he’s open to attend the inquiry.
He further added: “Gaya ng sinabi ko sa MPC (Malacañang Press Corps), transparent lahat ‘yung records,” he added.
1993 Sarmenta-Gomez Rape-Slay
The GCTA law has become a hot topic in the past days after news about the release of Sanchez broke on media.
Sanchez was found guilty for the murder-rape slay of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez. On the night of June 28, 1993, the two were abducted by six henchmen outside the campus.
Sarmenta was then offered as a ‘gift’ to Sanchez in a farm rest house in Laguna. The ex-mayor raped her, then handed her over to the other six men to be raped again. According to court records, Sarmenta was shot in the face while Gomez was badly beaten up before he was shot by Pepito Kawit, one of Sanchez’ six aides.
Reclusion Perpetua Verdict
Sanchez, who was sentenced seven counts of reclusion perpetua by Pasig Judge Harriet Demetriou on March 4, 1995, gained criticisms from the people and lawmakers in the past days citing that he does not deserve to be out of jail because of GCTA.
In relation to this, Sanchez and his family failed to pay the damages as ordered by the court to the families of Sarmenta and Gomez. In fact, Sanchez’s wife Elvira said her family has “no intention” to heed the court-ordered payment of P12 million to the families of the victims.
“Actually, your honor, wala po talaga kaming intensyon (we really don’t have any intention),” Elvira said.
“Laging paulit-ulit namin sinasabi, ‘Bakit po kami magbabayad? Eh wala naman pong kasalanan ang aking asawa (We have repeatedly said. ‘Why will we pay? My husband is innocent’),” she added.