A CONGRESSMAN has filed a resolution seeking to investigate a government program on the early release of convicted criminals for good conduct, after an uproar against a plan to free former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, a convicted rapist and murderer.
The congressional probe will determine whether someone should answer for the recommendation to free the ex-politician, Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said in a statement on Tuesday.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the Justice department not to release Mr. Sanchez, according to his former aide. The president has studied the case of the ex-mayor and determined that he’s ineligible for an early release because he committed a heinous crime, Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go, Mr. Duterte’s former right-hand man, has said.
Mr. Duterte made this clear to Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra and Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor E. Faeldon, the lawmaker said.
Mr. Guevarra on Sunday said he would suspend the program on the early release of convicts for good conduct amid an uproar against the planned release of the ex-mayor.
Mr. Sanches was convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of two University of the Philippines students in 1993 and was sentenced to seven life terms.
Senator Juan Miguel F. Zubiri on Monday said he would file a bill amending the law that expands the application of early release for good conduct. The measure would specifically bar its application to heinous crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and kidnap for ransom, he said.
Mr. Guevarra said he got an order from the presidential palace to hold Mr. Sanchez’s release until legal issues are settled. It was the Justice chief who first announced the plan to release Mr. Sanchez along with thousands of convicts for good conduct, which he said could not be appealed.
Also yesterday, Mr. Guevarra said he had suspended the early release of prisoners for good conduct “as a precautionary measure and in the interest of prudence.” — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras and Vann Marlo M. Villegas