Claim: Former president Benigno Aquino III is responsible for the possible release of Antonio Sanchez, convicted murderer-rapist and ex-mayor of Calauan, Laguna.
In a video flagged by Facebook through its Claim Check tool, which identifies suspicious content shared across the platform, pro-administration video blogger Dante Maravillas said that Aquino is to blame because of Republic Act 10592 or the Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.
Facebook flagged a YouTube link titled “Antonio Sanchez lalaya dahil kay Noynoy (will be set free because of Noynoy) – Dante 8/22,” posted by the channel “Its JL” on August 22, 2019. The video had over 28,000 views and 768 likes on YouTube as of writing.
The YouTube video took clips from Maravillas’ Facebook live published on the same date. The original content, where he also opposed the SOGIE Equality bill, was almost 3 hours long. Maravillas’ tirades against Aquino started around the 54-minute mark.
In the video, Maravillas questioned why “dilawans” (“yellows” or supporters of the Aquinos) are blaming Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for the reduction of Sanchez’s prison time, when it was Aquino that signed the law that made it possible (Panelo was Sanchez’s lawyer in the UPLB rape-slay case).
Maravillas’ live video had over 17,000 views, 1,200 shares, 987 reactions, and 648 comments as of writing. The pro-administration vlogger regularly conducts live broadcasts on Facebook.
Facebook Claim Check also flagged 3 other Facebook pages (Kamay na Bakal PH, Ang Bumangga, Giba, and Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles & Ahmed Paglinawan) and one website (pinoytrendingnews.net) that posted similar claims blaming Aquino. As of writing, their posts have over 8,900 combined shares, 17,100 reactions, and 6,000 comments based on Facebook and CrowdTangle data.
The facts: The decision to put Sanchez as a candidate who’s “very likely for release” under the GCTA came from the Department of Justice (DOJ), which later changed its mind following public outrage.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on August 20 that the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has started processing inmates convicted in the 1990s after the GCTA was made retroactive by the Supreme Court (SC) in June this year. The list included Sanchez, who has been serving jail time for 25 years for the Eileen Sarmenta-Allan Gomez case and for the double murder of Nelson and Rickson Peñalosa.
Under the law, those authorized to grant time allowances are the director of BuCor, the chief of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and/or the warden of a provincial, district, municipal or city jail. (READ: Early release of Antonio Sanchez? Here’s what the GCTA law says)
The news that Sanchez might soon go free enraged Filipinos. The backlash prompted the DOJ to backtrack on August 22, the same day Maravillas’ video was released. BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon said that Sanchez may not be qualified after all, because of reports that he committed violations in jail.
Are the likes of Antonio Sanchez eligible for reduced sentence? The ambiguous provisions of the GCTA law should either be interpreted by the Supreme Court or amended by Congress.— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) August 23, 2019
TIMELINE: DOJ backtracks on possible early release of Antonio Sanchez https://t.co/Jl9cp8jN2N pic.twitter.com/FgSOlK6Dek
On August 23, Guevarra said the law excludes inmates convicted of heinous crimes, a view shared by Malacañang. But he said later that it would be best if the Supreme Court or Congress clarified this once and for all.
Meantime, the DOJ temporarily suspended the processing of inmates’ early release under the GCTA. A House resolution was also filed on August 27 that seeks to clarify provisions of the GCTA law, particularly about its exemptions.
All this has nothing to do with former president Aquino. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com
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