MANILA - The family of Eileen Sarmenta is no longer pursuing the payment of civil damages from convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.
“Wala kaming habol dyan sa dirty money ni Sanchez,” Clara Sarmenta said in a phone interview with ABS-CBN Wednesday.
During the Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senator Franklin Drilon asked Sanchez’ camp whether civil damages had been settled with the families of victims, Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, amounting to more than P12-M.
Elvira Sanchez, common-law-wife of the former Calauan, Laguna mayor, said they have no intentions of compensating the victims, stressing that Sanchez is innocent of the crime.
“Paulit-ulit namin sinasabi bakit kami magbabayad? Wala naman kasalanan asawa ko, wala kaming intensyon bayaran ito,” Elvira told the senators during the hearing.
Mrs. Sarmenta said that Sanchez failed to prove that he was innocent of the crime in the course of the trial.
“Nilitis ang aming kaso, 16 na buwan, araw-araw magmula Lunes hanggang Biyernes, bakit hindi nila nai-prove na inosente si Sanchez? Hindi po ba? Ang nangyayari, parang kinekwestyun nila yung desisyon ng Regional Trial Court saka Supreme Court na he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt,” Sarmenta said.
Drilon called on the Department of Justice to push for a Writ of Execution demanding that Sanchez’ camp pay for damages. Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, cited the prescriptive period for the case.
Sarmenta shared, they were not aware of the prescriptive period.
“Hindi po namin alam na may ganyan prescriptive period, nalaman po namin ‘yan pagkaraan siguro ng 10 taon nung may nabasa o sa balita…Ang alam po kasi namin nung panahon na yun, kami po ang maghahanap ng mga properties ni Sanchez para iattach sa aming claim,” she recalled.
Sarmenta added they also did not have the means to look for all possible properties of Sanchez for their civil claims.
“Mainit na mainit na sila samin, kung magtatanong kami sa mga ari-arian nila, baka siguro wala na rin kami sa mundong ito. I mean it’s very dangerous for the family of the victims to be doing that,” she said.
The Sarmenta family emphasized they had to raise the issue on the non-payment of civil damages as a question to Sanchez' release for allegedly “good conduct."
“Ang point ko lang nung naibanggit ko itong hindi sila nagbayad, dapat tinake into consideration po ng kung sino man ang nagccompute ng GCTA [Good Conduct Time Allowance] na hindi ho ito good conduct, dahil ito ay paglabag sa utos ng ating hukom,” Sarmenta cited.
The Sanchez family has since insisted that the former mayor is eligible for release under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
A letter of strong opposition on the release of Sanchez was already submitted by the Sarmenta and Gomez family to the DOJ and Bureau of Corrections last September 2.