By Bernadette D. Nicolas, August 27 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to ABS-CBN News

President Duterte has ordered the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Department of Justice not to release convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez, the former Calauan mayor who is serving life terms in the 1993 case of University of Los Baños students Mary Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.

Senator Christopher T. Go, a longtime confidant of the President, said on Monday the President gave the order to BuCor Chief Nicanor Faeldon and Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra.

“He relayed to BuCor Chief Faeldon and Secretary Guevarra that he [Sanchez] cannot be released because the President is studying the law and it is stated under Republic 10592 [or the Good Conduct Time Allowance law] that [those who are convicted for] heinous crimes are excluded from it,” Go told reporters on the sidelines of the National Heroes’ Day Celebration at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The 2013 law signed by then- President Benigno S. Aquino III expanded GCTA and allowed certain deductions from the period of sentence for maintaining  good behavior during detention, in a bid to declog the country’s prisons.

The senator said Sanchez should forget about his dream of getting out of jail, adding that it would be better for him to atone for his sins behind bars.

“I also said that you [Sanchez] should not dream anymore of getting out of jail. Atone for your sins inside the jail. Mr. Sanchez, if you get out of jail, your life will only get shorter,” he said. “If you dream of shortening your life sentence, your life will only get shorter. So stay inside of jail. Just wait for St. Peter’s judgment.”

Last Thursday, Malacañang first said that the “inevitable conclusion” is that those convicted of a heinous crime, including Mr. Sanchez, would be ineligible and disqualified from enjoying the benefits of the GCTA.

“The sentiments of the people are understandable vis-à-vis the law passed by Congress during the previous administration and its recent interpretation by the Supreme Court. As we have said, our task is to merely execute what the laws as they stand. We reiterate, however, that while the Executive Branch has no discretion in the implementation of the GCTA, the law still allows for the proper evaluation of inmates to ensure their proper coverage,” said Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador S. Panelo in a statement.

“Otherwise stated, while the Executive Branch is constrained to grant the benefit of the GCTA, it will only grant it to those who are entitled to such benefit,” he added.

This, after the impending release of Sanchez was met with a public outcry.