De Lima lambasts Panelo for finger-pointing to cover role in Sanchez’s aborted release


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Senator Leila M. de Lima has chided Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo for pointing an accusing finger to the Aquino administration for the mess in the now-aborted release of heinous crime convicts under the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.

De Lima said she was not surprised at Panelo’s tactic of blaming the previous administration, which she said was meant to divert public attention from his involvement in the aborted release his former client, ex-Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez.

“Sa oras ng laglagan sa Administrasyong Duterte, iisa lamang ang palaging palusot ng mga opisyales nito, ang ituro ang nakaraang Administrasyong Aquino,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 587.

According to her, Panelo’s pronouncement blaming the Aquino administration for the GCTA Law mess is expected because the current regime is known for using the previous government as scapegoat to avoid accountability on pressing issues.

Panelo blamed De Lima, a former justice secretary during the Aquino government, and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas for the mess created by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the GCTA Law pending in the previous administration.

He claimed the IRR of the GCTA Law paved the way for the release of inmates earlier convicted of heinous crimes.

The lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that Panelo resorted to finger-pointing to cover his involvement in the release of Sanchez, who was sentenced for seven life imprisonments for the rape-slay of Eileen Sarmenta and murder of Allan Gomez in 1993.

She added that Panelo’s move was also meant to divert the public attention from the admission of BuCor head Nicanor Faeldon that he signed the memorandum of release for Sanchez.

“Sila ang mga pumapalpak, sila ang mga nambabastos sa batas, at sila ang gabundok na ang mga kasalanan sa taumbayan, kami pa rin ang sinisisi,” De Lima stressed.

During last Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the GCTA Law, Board of Pardons and Parole official Reynaldo Bayang testified that Panelo referred the request of the family of Sanchez’s application for executive clemency last February. Panelo also met the family of the former mayor twice in Malacanang.

While Sanchez’ release was averted by public outcry, Faeldon confirmed that the three of the seven rapist-killers of Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong have also been freed.

Earlier, De Lima urged her colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives to work together in improving the GCTA law, instead of calling for its repeal due to misapplication and misinterpretation by some government officials.

“Let’s improve the law and/or the IRR, if we must. But, please, let’s not abrogate it. To junk this law is to retrogress from hard-won triumphs in the legal universe,” she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 586.

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