Perhaps caving in to public pressure, Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon said this afternoon that Antonio Sanchez, the former mayor of Calauan, might not qualify for early release from prison after all due to several behavioral violations he’s made in detention.
Faeldon’s pronouncement comes after countless Filipinos voiced their opposition to the possibility that Sanchez might be freed sometime soon due to “good behavior.” He was supposed to be one of the thousands of inmates who would benefit from a 2013 law that deducts as many as 30 days from a prisoner’s term each month if they display good behavior in detention.
But, based on what Faeldon told the media today, Sanchez hasn’t exactly been an angel while behind bars.
“He had been involved with some not good behavior, so he might not qualify [for that law]. That’s really the probability,” Faeldon said in a press conference at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa, where Sanchez is serving his term.
Among that “not good behavior” that Faeldon was referring to was the 2010 incident in which a stash of methamphetamine (shabu) was found hidden inside Sanchez’ Virgin Mary statue. Another violation Faeldon cited was Sanchez’ possession of a flat-screen TV and air conditioning unit that were discovered inside his cell in 2015, reported ABS-CBN News.
“He may not be qualified to go home today or in the next few months. I don’t think he could qualify immediately,” Faeldon said.
The official also denied rumors that the former mayor has already been freed and is now back in his hometown of Calauan. Members of the media were able to take pictures of Sanchez from afar while he was walking around the Bilibid’s maximum security compound, reported The Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Sanchez is notorious in the Philippines for the 1993 killing of two University of the Philippines Los Baños students: Eileen Sarmenta and her boyfriend, Allan Gomez. The two were abducted by Sanchez’s men in Los Baños with the intent of presenting Eileen as a “gift” to the mayor. They were then brought to Sanchez’s home in Calauan, where Gomez was tortured.
Before ordering his aides to kill the victims, Sanchez raped Eileen, then presented her to his henchmen, who abused the teenager as well.
It was on Tuesday night when Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced that Sanchez might be released soon due to good conduct, which drew swift condemnation from opposition politicians, feminist groups, and netizens. A petition that asks the government to have the former mayor serve all seven of his life sentences is currently making the rounds online. Almost 43,000 people have signed the petition as of the time of writing.