FIRING LINE By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

FIRING LINE By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Opening old wounds

Picture the excruciating pain a parent has to go through after learning of the brutal killing that her son or daughter had suffered in the hands of an abusive and dreaded government official.

And after 26 years, can you imagine the horror and feeling of injustice that opening old wounds brings to the relatives of the victim?

Unfortunately, this is the agony that the mothers of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez have to go through after the alarming news that convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna, may be released due to the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) to be computed by the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) based on Republic Act 10592 released in 2013.

Sanchez was incarcerated for masterminding the murder of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) graduating students Eileen and Allan in 1993.

Court records showed six of Sanchez’s men abducted Eileen and Allan and presented the girl to the mayor as a gift. Sanchez raped Eileen and handed her over to his men to be sexually abused once more before she was shot in the face.

Maria Clara Sarmenta said her husband had difficulty identifying their daughter Eileen and only recognized her by the mole on her face. The morgue also had trouble fixing Eileen’s face and had to ask for her photo for the reconstruction.

And although the Supreme Court ordered the Sanchez camp to pay the families of the victims P10 million in damages, their mothers have yet to receive any compensation.

The mothers also revealed that Sanchez never showed any sign of remorse or repentance for the crimes he carried out. (The former mayor pleads innocence to this day.)

They recalled that he would look at them every day for 16 months as the trial went on as if they were the criminals. There were times he would smile mockingly at them. They are convinced that Sanchez could not change for the better.

The world seemed to crumble around them when they heard the news of Sanchez’s looming release. What’s worse was the fact that all their efforts in fighting to attain justice for their children would seem meaningless if he would be released.

If Sanchez would be freed, how could the victims’ families endure and relive the emotional torment and horror of the past every day for the rest of their lives?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at thephilbiznews.com

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