Faeldon says ex-mayor Sanchez’s early release not a done deal

By Jonathan Hicap

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Director General Nicanor Faeldon said on Thursday that the early release from prison of former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez is not 100 percent sure as his case is being reviewed because of his prison violations.

Bureau of Corrections Chief Director General Nicanor Faeldon answers questions during a press conference at the Bureau of correction in Muntinlupa. (Contributed photo / MANILA BULLETIN)
Bureau of Corrections Chief Director General Nicanor Faeldon answers questions during a press conference at the Bureau of correction in Muntinlupa. (Contributed photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

Faeldon held a press conference at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa to temper growing public anger against the release of Sanchez, who is serving nine terms of reclusion perpetua at NBP for the rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, and the murder of two other people.

He said Sanchez is one of the 11,000 prisoners who are merely candidates for early release under Republic Act 10592, enacted in 2003, which increased good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for prisoners, and out of them, only 1,000 prisoners may be released.

READ MORE: DOJ: Former Calauan Mayor Sanchez, thousands of inmates may be released soon

“They are subject to recomputation. But whether or not they are entitled to good conduct is another thing,” Faeldon said.

Sanchez has already served 49 years and eight months with GCTA under the new law, beyond the maximum sentence of 40 years. But the BuCor is looking into his violations including the seizure of shabu in his Bilibid cell in 2010 that may delay his release.

READ MORE: Under 2013 law, Sanchez has already served 49 years that made him eligible for release

“Habang nasa kulungan ka, involved ka sa illegal activities, let’s say natinda ka ng drugs, kahit abutin ka ng 39 years dito, bakit ka entitled sa good conduct time allowance? Clearly hindi ka nag-behave ng maayos. So hindi ka affected niyan. Talagang bubunuin mo yung number of years mo dito,” he cited as an example.

Regarding Sanchez, Faeldon said, there was an incident where drugs were seized from him. Although it was dismissed by a court on technicality, he had violated administrative rules of BuCor.

In 2015, during a raid in Bilibid by Bucor, authorities confiscated an LED TV, aircon, and a voltage regulator from Sanchez’s cell.

“So that also will be subject to review. We will review every activity of Mayor Sanchez. I’m assuring you at the first glance of his records here, he may not qualify for GCTA kasi marami din siyang violations. As far as the factual activities of ex-mayor Sanchez is concerned, we have basis of the decision that we will be issuing whether he is qualified or not. More or less, he may not qualify for that because of several violations,” he said.

Frederic Anthony Santos, chief of BuCor’s legal office, explained that if a prisoner is serving reclusion perpetua, which has a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, and under recomputation showed that he has already served more than 40 years, that it that time that his case will be reviewed to know if he has violations.

“Pag may violation siya, definitely, hindi mo siya bibigyan ng GCTA, hindi sya aabot dun. Pag wala siyang violation at lagpas na siya ng 40 years, eligible siya for GCTA. Yun ang nirerekomenda for release sa (BuCor) director,” Santos said.

Under the Uniform Manual for Time Allowances and Service of Sentence issued by the Department of Justice and Department of Interior and Local Government, a prisoner shall not be given GCTA for the month if he has violated prison rules including “keeping unauthorized amount of money, jewelry, cellular phones or other communications devices, luxurious properties and other items classified as contraband” and “ receiving, keeping, taking or drinking liquor and prohibited drugs and smoking.”

A source told Manila Bulletin that if the BuCor decides to reject Sanchez’s early release, the former mayor might go to a court for his freedom like what happened to high-profile prisoner Rolito Go.

Go served time at NBP after he was convicted in 1993 for the 1991 murder of Eldon Maguan, a student of De La Salle University. Go shot Maguan in San Juan due to traffic altercation.

In a decision dated Nov. 28, 2016 but released on Dec. 16, 2016, the Supreme Court denied BuCor’s petition opposing a Muntinlupa regional trial court ruling in 2014 that stated that Go’s sentence should have ended on August 21, 2013.

In its petition, the BuCor said Go’s sentence should end on Jan. 31, 2022. The Supreme Court ordered the BuCor to immediately release Go from detention.

Sanchez was also presented by BuCor to the media to dispute online rumors that he was seen in Calauan.