MANILA — Convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez is a probable coronavirus patient and was recently rushed to the hospital, the Bureau of Corrections said Wednesday, following the deaths of several other high-profile inmates due to the respiratory disease.
Sanchez, a former mayor of Calauan, Laguna confined at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa, showed "severe symptoms" of COVID-19, including vomiting and diarrhea, said BuCor spokesperson Gabriel Chaclag.
"Probable COVID patient din siya," he told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.
The NBP Hospital is undergoing repair, its laboratory services are suspended and the prison’s isolation facility can only accommodate suspected coronavirus patients with mild or no symptoms, he said.
Authorities tried to transfer Sanchez to the Ospital ng Muntinlupa on Monday, but it had no vacancy, forcing him to return to the NBP Hospital, said Chaclag.
The former mayor is now “stable.” However, he still needs further checks and is waiting for a vacancy at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa or the Philippine General Hospital, said the official.
Several other high-profile Bilibid inmates recently succumbed to COVID-19, including Jaybee Sebastian.
Sebastian is a key witness in the alleged narcotics ring inside the penitentiary and a co-respondent in the related drug trafficking cases filed against Sen. Leila De Lima.
Meanwhile, Sanchez and his henchmen were convicted in the 1993 rape-slay of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the torture-killing of her companion Allan Gomez.
Last year, reports of Sanchez’s possible release from prison due to a law that expanded good conduct credits drew public outrage, spawned a Senate inquiry and led to the axing of then BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon.