MANILA - Over two decades after he was convicted of rape and murder, former Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez maintained his innocence and said he deserved to be freed.
“Wala naman ako involvement d'yan. 'Yan naman ay love triangle, itinapon lang sa Calauan tapos ikinarga sa akin," Sanchez told ABS-CBN News' Ron Gagalac in an interview inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
(I have no involvement there. That case is a case of love triangle. The bodies were dumped in my area. They falsely charged me.)
In 1995, Sanchez was convicted of the 1993 rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of Allan Gomez - regarded by many as one of the most dramatic murder cases of that decade.
But to this day, Sanchez, who was given 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment for each term), said he was just framed up by enemies in politics.
“Talagang ako'y walang kasalanan, maski lumubog na itong mundo, mamatay na ang dapat mamatay kung ako ay may kasalanan," he said.
(I am innocent. I swear, I am innocent, even if the world crumbles.)
Authorities earlier said the convicted rapist and murderer could walk free in 2 months due to a new law increasing good conduct time allowance (GCTA) for convicts and a Supreme Court decision allowing that law to be applied retroactively.
“Kung talagang susundin ang batas makakalaya na po ako, 48 years na po ako nakakulong. Marami na ho akong nagawang kabutihan, sa simbahan, lahat ng tulong binibigay ko," claimed Sanchez.
(If it were up to me, I deserve to be freed. My jail term could be equated to 48 years. I have done many good things, even to the Church. I helped so many.)
Sanchez has been in prison for 24 years.
Amid public outrage, Malacañang said Friday Sanchez would not be a beneficiary of the 2013 law.
“Mr. Sanchez, under Republic Act 10592 is not eligible. So the President as chief enforcer of the law will have to follow the law,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, Sanchez's former defense counsel, told reporters.
Malacañang, in an earlier statement, echoed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in pointing out that the law excludes “recidivists, habitual delinquents, escapees and persons charged with heinous crimes from the benefit of its coverage.”