Anong ebidensya pa kailangan? Rene Saguisag: Antonio Sanchez’s guilt in Sarmenta-Gomez slays ain’t proven beyond reasonable doubt
Former senator Rene Saguisag is one of the few abogados who believe former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez should be released from jail despite being convicted of murder and rape.
Saguisag said Sanchez may be innocent of the rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her companion, Allan Gomez, in 1993 based on the word of abogados from Laguna.
“Many Lagunenses — including one Judge (GAB), a Bedan lawyer of class 1954, whose judgment I trust, on the assurance of his classmate, Bobbit Sanchez — told me the mayor had committed countless sins and crimes, but not the tragedy for which he was convicted,” Saguisag said in his August 24 column for the Manila Times.
“Twenty-five years for one whose guilt may not have been established beyond a reasonable doubt, from where Mario and I sat — let him answer to Sanpiro or Kalawit in his sunset years,” the former senator added, referring to the late abogado Mario Ongkiko.
Sanchez was sentenced to seven, 40-year prison terms over the Sarmenta-Gomez killings and rape cases. Recently, however, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the former mayor could be freed because of the 2013 law adjusting the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) for inmates.
Despite being known as a human rights advocate, Saguisag’s support for Sanchez’s release shouldn’t come as a surprise because he once worked for the former mayor.
“I handled the Mayor’s assets statements case, also pro bono, on the request of my late longtime and valued friend, ethical superlawyer Mario Ongkiko (who made a similar request re Hubert Webb),” he said.
Malacañang has clarified that Sanchez is not eligible for release under the new law on GCTA because of his conviction for heinous crimes.