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Malacañang: Sanchez ineligible for early release

August 24, 2019 - Saturday 5:08 PM by Jon Joaquin

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Malacañang on Friday night said former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez is “ineligible” for early release from prison because he was convicted of a heinous crime.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Malacañang reviewed Republic Act No. 10592 or the law on Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA), which amends the Revised Penal Code on the computation of the duration of imprisonment based on an offender’s good conduct.

“(Our review) reveals that it is categorical in excluding recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefit of its coverage. This is the letter and the spirit of the law,” Panelo said.

He said the “inevitable conclusion” is that Sanchez, along with all those convicted of a heinous crime, “would be ineligible and disqualified from availing the benefits of the GCTA.”

Panelo said this is also in keeping with the opinion of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who had said a person charged with a heinous crime “is not qualified at all” to avail himself of the GCTA.

“Further, we support his Department’s directive to the Bureau of Corrections to carefully and cautiously review the GCTA of persons who have been found guilty by the courts of having committed high profile, heinous crimes or crimes so grave that show extreme moral depravity,” Panelo said.

Panelo reiterated that the mandate of the Executive Branch is “to ensure the faithful execution of all laws.”

But he also said the law “still allows for the proper evaluation of inmates to ensure their proper coverage.”

“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.

Panelo said the Palace welcomes the intention of some lawmakers to conduct hearings in aid of legislation with respect to the current law on the GCTA.

“We assure that responsible officials will attend the same and assist them as they endeavor to craft better penal laws that are not only fair but are also morally sound,” he said.