Harriet firm! Panelo should resign for Sanchez’s botched release

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Harriet Demetriou, the judge who convicted former Calauan mayor Antonio Sanchez in the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños students Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, expressed firm belief that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was involved in the botched release of the erstwhile official.

“Hindi siya makakapagsabi na wala siyang alam sa pagpapalaya kay Sanchez. That is impossible. Presidential legal counsel siya,” Demetriou said.

She was the judge of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court that tried, handled, and convicted Sanchez, while Panelo was one of Sanchez’s defense counsels then.

But Panelo was quick to deny any involvement in Sanchez’s release.

“Wala na ako doon e, nag-withdraw na ako 27 years ago so I don’t think I will be in any position to make any comment,” Panelo said.

Also, Demetriou continued that Panelo should have advised President Duterte that Sanchez was ineligible to avail of the good conduct time allowance because he committed a heinous crime.

“Mag-resign ka na lang, Panelo,” the feisty ex-judge said.

Sanchez hogged the headlines once again after it was reported recently that he maybe out from prison soon.

This was because of a new law increasing good conduct time allowance of prisoners (Republic Act 10592), and a recent Supreme Court decision applying this law retroactively.

Sanchez was convicted for the 1993 rape and murder Sarmenta and Gomez.

The verdict was handed down on March 11, 1995 by Demetrio who said that the rape and murder of Sarmenta and Gomez were “a plot seemingly hatched in hell.”

The SC upheld the Laguna regional trial court ruling in 1999 against Sanchez, who is currently serving his sentence of seven terms of reclusion perpetua at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.

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