No CBCP move to influence case of convicted rapist, murderer ex-mayor 

ex-calauan-laguna-mayor-antonio-sanchezThe Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Thursday said there is no move from the clergy to influence the case of convicted rapist and murderer, former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez.

This came after retired Pasig City Regional Trial Court Judge Harriet Demetriou claimed in a news report that the late former Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin met her during the trial of sanchez and gave her a letter from the late Lucena Bishop Pedro Bantigue. 
“As I understand her comments, It’s not as if the bishops were stalling or influencing her to rule in favor of Mayor Sanchez,” Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA) said in a statement. 
“I think, Judge Demetriou also said that Cardinal Sin told her to do what was necessary,” he added. 
Secillano also reiterated that “whatever the law says, the church adheres to it”, clarifying that the Church is not being asked regarding its opinion on legal matters, thus its silence on the case. 
“Because the church wasn’t asked for an opinion. The media was focused on the legality of the issue. I don’t think the opinion of the church on legal matters is needed,” Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs (PCPA) said in a statement.  
Meanwhile, CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison and Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) executive secretary Rudy Diamante believed that Bantigue just expressed his opinion when he claimed the innocence of the former mayor.
“The late good Bishop (Emeritus) of San Pablo (Laguna) was just stating his personal experiences and knowledge of the former mayor,” Rudy Diamante, executive secretary of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Prison and Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC), said in an interview. 
“He must not have been aware of the dark side of the mayor until the crime was committed,” he said. 
In 1995, Demetriou meted seven counts of reclusion perpetua (up to 40 years imprisonment) to Sanchez and six others for the rape-slay of University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the killing of her companion Allan Gomez in 1993.
The late bishop was appointed to the Diocese of San Pablo on January 25, 1967 and stayed there until his retirement in 1995.
Bantigue died in 2012 at the age of 92.  (PNA)

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