Record shows Panelo met Sanchez's wife ahead of clemency plea letter
MANILA - Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo met with the wife of his former client, convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, a day before her daughter sought help for their patriarch’s application for pardon, security records showed.
Elvira Sanchez visited Panelo’s office at the New Executive Building in Malacañang on Feb. 7, a day before her daughter, Marie Antonelvie, e-mailed the official regarding her father’s case.
The security logbook at the New Executive Building in Malacañang, where Panelo’s office is located, showed that the Sanchez matriarch visited Panelo at 10:33 a.m.
Another entry in the logbook showed that she again visited Panelo on Feb. 26 at 10:12 a.m., this time with Marie Antonelvie. It was on the same day when Panelo, also President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal counsel, referred a letter on Sanchez’s application for executive clemency to the Board of Pardons and Parole through a letter.
Panelo confirmed meeting the Sanchez family twice on Wednesday. He earlier described the meeting as an “official communication.”
“Iyong una basta ang natatandaan ko iyong si asawa; pagkatapos iyong pangalawa galing ako sa press briefing, paglabas ko sa press briefing, sa kuwarto natin, nandoon sila,” said Panelo in an interview with CNN Philippines.
(The first one, I remember it was the wife. After that, the second one, I came from a press briefing and then I saw them in the room. They were there.)
Sanchez’s daughter, in an email dated Feb. 8, asked Duterte, his former aide now Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, and Panelo to vouch for the former mayor’s plea for pardon. The said email was the one referred by Panelo to the BPP on Feb. 26.
Panelo earlier explained that he has not been personally in touch with the former mayor since his conviction in 1995, and that it is standard operating procedure for the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel to respond to all letters and refer these to the appropriate department.
“The fact of the referral takes away the case from my office. It means we’re not touching it,” Panelo said.
He also clarified that he did not ask the President and Go for a recommendation on the Sanchez family’s plea.
“I did not approach Mr. Go about it, I did not ask him about it, I did not write him about it,” Panelo said. “I did not ask the President, I did not write the President.”
Duterte is aware of the said meeting, Panelo said, but noted that he did not discuss Sanchez’s application for executive clemency with the chief executive.
Sanchez was convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 7 terms of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years' imprisonment for each term) for the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and killing of her companion Allan Gomez.
Last month, he was said to be among possible beneficiaries of good conduct time allowance, which grants inmates early release on account of good conduct.
The President has rejected Sanchez’s possible early release.
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