AdChoiceTV News — Convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez has died, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said yesterday.
In a statement, BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag said Sanchez was found “unresponsive” in his cell at about 7 a.m. yesterday.
He was brought to the New Bilibid Prison hospital by his cell mates, but was declared dead on arrival.
He would be subjected to an autopsy, Chaclag added, “as per procedure on sudden deaths.”
“He was last seen alive at 10 p.m. preparing to sleep. When his cell mates woke him up this morning, he was unresponsive,” Chaclag said.
“There is no sign of foul play. He had existing conditions such as chronic kidney disease, hypertension, recurring gastro enteritis, prostate problems and asthma,” he added.
His next of kin was also informed, the spokesman said.
Sanchez, along with his men, were convicted in 1995 for the rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the torture and murder of Allan Gomez, both students of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.
He made headlines in 2019 after it was reported that Sanchez qualified for the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law, supposedly granting him the privilege to walk free from prison along with 11,000 persons deprived of liberty.
But Sanchez’s application was highly criticized by various groups as he did not qualify for the conditions of the GCTA for model inmates, which prompted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the law.
The DOJ then crafted new rules that excluded Sanchez and those convicted of heinous crimes from availing of the GCTA law.
The GCTA issue led to the firing of then-BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon, who was replaced by Gerald Bantag.
Not qualified for GCTA
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra pointed out yesterday that Sanchez did not qualify for release under the GCTA law.
“As of the time of his death, Mayor Sanchez was still not qualified for release,” Guevarra told reporters in a Viber message, a few hours after BuCor confirmed his passing.
But Guevarra said that all issues surrounding the GCTA application of Sanchez have now become moot and academic.
“Mayor Sanchez has reached the end of his natural life. May God forgive him for all his trespasses,” Guevarra said.
He said that the BuCor, which is an attached agency of the DOJ, is still seeking the conformity of Sanchez’s family for the conduct of an autopsy, but Guevarra said that the bureau will do the report upon the request of the late mayor’s family.
Reporting by Irvin Chua