Press Release
August 22, 2019

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on rape-slay convict Antonio Sanchez

From the perspective of restorative justice, I agree with the retroactive application of Republic Act 10592 which increases the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) that can be deducted from an inmate's total prison term. Offenders who have genuinely taken responsibility and made amends for the crimes they have committed and have made great effort at repentance and rehabilitation should be given the chance to turn a new leaf and be reintegrated back into society.

However, I strongly disagree that rape-slay convict Antonio Sanchez is qualified to have his jail term reduced. Sanchez has shown no signs of remorse and displayed no effort at improving himself in behavior or character inside the penitentiary. In fact, even inside prison, he has continued committing crimes with impunity.

How can Sanchez qualify for good conduct when he was reportedly caught with P1.5 million worth of shabu hidden in a religious statue in his cell in 2010? How does he qualify for good behavior when he was enjoying VIP perks such as an airconditioning unit and a flat-screen TV, also in his cell in 2015? These are not the acts of a reformed and repentant inmate.

I call on our correction officials to prudently review and determine who truly deserve and are qualified to have their jail terms reduced. The implementation of the new GCTA guidelines should go beyond simple computations. More importantly, a thorough assessment of an inmate's overall conduct inside prison vis-a-vis the nature and gravity of his or her crimes is required.

They say, where "crime hurts, justice should heal." But there can be no healing when there is no accountability, contrition, rehabilitation and self change. Freeing an unrepentant criminal who refuses to take responsibility for his brutal crimes and has even committed new and serious crimes while serving time is not restorative justice. It is a mockery of justice and itself a crime.

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