Drilon seeks Senate probe on reduced sentence of convicted rapist ex-Mayor Sanchez

Robie de Guzman   •   August 22, 2019   •   1115

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday said he will file a resolution calling on the Senate to probe the reduction of sentence of former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez, a rape and murder convict.

Drilon questioned the applicability of the Republic Act 10592 to Sanchez who was previously reported to have been involved in the smuggling of illegal drugs and other contrabands inside his jail cell.

“Ang balita ay involved siya sa drug trade sa Muntinlupa. Paano naman nakaroon siya ng allowance for conduct of good behavior? Ang balita pa natin ay mayroon siyang aircon sa kaniyang kulungan. Paano naman naging good conduct ito?” Drilon said in media interviews.

Drilon cited the allegations of possession of illegal drugs against Sachez in 2006 when a prison guard found a packet of shabu and marijuana in his jail cell. In 2010, he was again caught with P1.5 million worth of shabu.

Five years after, authorities seized an air conditioning unit and a television set from his cell.

Drilon said he wondered how the Bureau of Pardon and Parole arrived in its computation of Sanchez’s good conduct time allowance.

Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) spokesperson Sonny del Rosario said that the convicted mayor has already served 48 years following the computation of his good conduct time allowance.

“Paano natin mako-consider na good behavior ‘yun? Is Mayor Sanchez really qualified under RA 10592? This is a question of fact, so it is best for the Department of Justice to put on hold its decision until these issues are resolved,” the senator said.

Sanchez was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. He has been in jail for 25 years for seven terms of reclusion perpetua.

Drilon was the country’s Justice secretary during Sanchez’s conviction.

“I became close with the Sarmenta family in our efforts to put behind bars Mayor Sanchez and his men. I felt sorry for the Sarmenta and Gomez families. This has reopened old wounds,” he added.

The lawmaker appealed to the Department of Justice to put on hold the release of Sanchez pending the review of his qualifications.

“We appeal to the Secretary of Justice Menardo Guevarra to hold the release of Sanchez and to review and study carefully if, number one, Sanchez is really entitled to the benefits of RA 10592; and, number two, if he has really exhibited good conduct while he is in prison,” he said.

Duterte won’t withdraw memo barring gov’t officials from Pharmally hearings

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday night (October 6) defended his memorandum order barring government officials from attending the Senate investigation on the government’s management of pandemic funds.

During his regular public address, Duterte slammed senators who were calling for the withdrawal of the memo directing government officials and employees to no longer attend the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee hearings.

“Kayo ang nag-umpisa nito eh. Kayo ang nag-umpisa nitong lahat (You’re the ones who started this. You started all of this), he said referring to the panel.

READ: DOJ chief defends Duterte memo barring Cabinet execs from attending Senate panel probe

The committee is currently conducting investigation on alleged irregularities in the government’s procurement of COVID-19 pandemic supplies last year.

“I have to protect the Executive department from the incessant and steady dose of insults coming from the senators,” Duterte said. “There ain’t no way that I will withdraw it. You can do your worst and I will do mine,” he added.

The Chief Executive said government employees, including Cabinet members, should be focused on addressing the  pandemic instead of participating in Senate hearings. The President also slammed Senator Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan for threatening government employees.

“I’m told that it was Pangilinan who said that ‘the worst is yet to come’ to mga empleyado (the employees). Who are you to threaten or even to intimidate government workers?” Duterte said. AAC

Duterte on Senate probe into Pharmally: ‘More than martial law’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday called the Senate order to detain Pharmally Pharmaceuticals Corporation director Linconn Ong as “more than martial law”.

In his weekly talk to the nation aired Monday night (September 27), Duterte criticized the Senate’s “intimidation” tactics in its investigation on government transactions with Pharmally.

Akala ko ba ayaw ng mga taong Pilipinas ng martial law? Tingnan mo ang ginagawa ng Senado ngayon, (I thought the Philippines does not like martial law? Look at what the Senate is doing now), it is just more than a martial law,” he said.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon has ordered Ong’s detention after citing the latter for contempt for allegedly evading questions regarding Pharmally’s P8 billion worth of transactions with the government. Ong was supposed to be transferred to the Pasay City Jail.

Duterte said the Senate panel is not really looking for answers but expecting specific replies from summoned resource persons.

Kung ayaw ninyo ang sagot, magagalit kayo tapos you threaten (If you don’t like the answer you will get mad and threaten) you will—’We will cite you in contempt and we can detain you forever.’ Is that how a civilized Congress works? Takutan ba ito (Is this intimidation),” he said.

“Do not blame him because that is his truth. You just cannot assume altogether that he is lying. That would be a cockeyed view of what a hearing should be,” he added.

Duterte also wondered what the human rights advocates have to say regarding the issue.

“So ang Human Rights, gusto kong marinig kung ano rin ang sinasabi (I also want to know what they have to say). The Constitution really provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Is there a due process of law if you already have the preconceived answer? And if it does not dovetail your frame of mind, you send him to jail?” he asked.

The president addressed Senator Richard Gordon anew during his speech, telling him to “try to be a lawyer and not a despot.”

“You are not the king of Congress. Please do it for the sake of you, your family, and for the country,” he said. AAC

DOJ to issue immigration lookout bulletin order against Michael Yang

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021

Michael Yang

 

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice will issue an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser Michael Yang on Tuesday, Secretary Menardo Guevarra announced.

This is in response to the request of Senate Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon to place Yang under an immigration watchlist.

Gordon on Monday (September 13) wrote to DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra to seek issuance of an immigration lookout bulletin order (ILBO) against Yang.

A similar request was previously submitted to the DOJ for former Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Undersecretary Lloyd Christopher Lao and seven others, to which an immigration lookout order had been released.

Yang and Lao are both under probe due to alleged deficiencies in the use of the P67-billion budget for pandemic response under the Department of Health (DOH) which was reflected in the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report.

The Blue Ribbon has been investigating the government’s handling of COVID-19 response funds, including the procurement of supposedly “overpriced” face masks and shields. AAC

 

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