Murders of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez

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Murders of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez
LocationCalauan, Laguna, Philippines
DateJune 28, 1993; 26 years ago (1993-06-28)
Attack type
kidnapping, rape, shooting
WeaponsM16 rifle[1]
VictimsEileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez
PerpetratorsAntonio Sanchez
AssailantsLuis Corcolon
Rogelio Corcolon
George Medialdea
Baldwin Brion
Pepito Kawit
Zoilo Ama
VerdictGuilty (March 14, 1995)
ConvictionsSeven terms of reclusión perpetua

The murders of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez occurred on June 28, 1993 in Calauan, Laguna, Philippines. The case rape involved police personnel and Antonio Sanchez, the mayor of Calauan, who were tried and convicted of the crime. Sanchez was accused of masterminding the abduction of Sarmenta and her companion, Gomez, and the subsequent rape and murder of Sarmenta and the torture and murder of Gomez. The victims were both students of the University of the Philippines, Los Baños (UPLB).[2][3][4]

Murder[edit]

On the night of June 28, 1993, Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, both students of the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, were abducted by men of Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez and forcibly entered them into the white vehicle.[5]

The two were brought to Erais Farm in Barangay Curba, which is said to be owned by the Mayor.[5][6] Upon arriving there, Sarmienta was taken to Sanchez's room while Allan was left to be beaten by Mayor's staff namely Luis Corcolon, Rogelio "Boy" Corcolon, Zoilo Ama and George Medialdea. After that, Sanchez's orders the two men to bring Sarmienta and Gomez to the Toyota Tamaraw FX; the suspects are also board the vehicle.

Pepito Kawit followed-up by striking Allan's diaphragm with the butt of an armalite, causing Allan to fall against a cement box. Brion thought Allan was already dead, but Kawit said, quote, "His death will come later."

Aurelio Centeno, who eventually became a star witness, joined Sanchez's personal aides Edwin Cosico and Raul Alorico to watch television at the adjacent resthouse. Alorico told Centeno that the Mayor had been eagerly waiting for the group and worried that they will not arrive.

At around 1:00 a.m. of the next day, a crying Eileen was dragged out of the resthouse by Luis and Medialdea her hair disheveled, mouth covered by a handkerchief, hands still tied and stripped of her shorts. The Mayor, clad merely in white polo, appeared and thanked Luis and Medialdea for the gift. "I am through with her. She's all yours," the Mayor uttered in contentment. When asked what will happen to Allan, Medialdea assured the Mayor that they will also kill him for full measure. Eileen and Allan were then loaded in the Tamaraw van by the appellants and headed for Calauan, followed closely by the ambulance. Kawit finished off Allan with a single gunshot from his armalite.

The men then stopped at a sugarcane field in Sitio Paputok, Kilometro 74 of Barangay Mabacan, and gang-raped Eileen. Kawit invited Centeno to join the sexual fiasco but Centeno refused as he cannot, in conscience, bear the bestiality being committed on Eileen.

At the end of the gang-rape, the six men decided to shoot Eileen in the face in order to hide their crime. When Eileen pleaded to the six men to spare her life, Eileen said to the six men, quote, "Please, you have taken everything from me. My shame, my honor. But please, spare me my breath. It’s the only thing I’ve got left."[7]

Despite Eileen's pleas to spare her life, Luis Corcolon gagged Eileen's mouth and fired his baby armalite at her, and ordered Centeno to get rid of Eileen's body.[8]

Following separate investigations by different law enforcement agencies, prosecutors pursued charges against Sanchez and his men, but did not include Teofilo "Kit" Alqueza, son of Gen. Dictador Alqueza, as respondents. Sanchez had claimed Alqueza was the mastermind.[9]

Investigation[edit]

On June 29, 1993, after Eileen's mother, Clara Sarmienta, received a phone call from someone else, they arrive at the site where they found a lifeless body of Eileen inside a white van.[10] In an examination conducted by PNP Crime Laboratory Office, it was found out that Sarmienta had been raped before being killed.[11] Meanwhile, the body of Allan Gomez was found in the grassy area in another village in Calauan, Laguna; Gomez sustained two gunshot wounds (one in the head and one in the back) in his body.[12]

The two men are later surrendered at the police headquarters where they identified themselves as the personnel of Sanchez. They also explicitly pointed the finger to Sanchez as the mastermind of murder and killing of the two victims.[13]

The case considered the most challenging for the investigators, due to the witnesses incriminate Sanchez and his men for the case.[14] A vehicle, Toyota Tamaraw FX, used in the kidnapping of Sarmienta and Gomez was surrendered to the police. It was not before that, after they committed the crime, the vehicle was cleaned in front of the Calauan municipal hall.[15] The authorities found the empty bullet shell of the M16 rifle near the body of Gomez.[1]

Convictions[edit]

On March 14, 1995, Pasig Judge Harriet Demetriou concluded the 16-month Sarmenta-Gomez murder trial with the finding that Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez and several henchmen (only some of whom were policemen) were guilty of raping and murdering Sarmenta and killing Sarmenta's friend. Demetriou, in her 132-page decision, described the crime as being borne out of a "plot seemingly hatched in hell."[4]

Sanchez is currently serving (7) terms of reclusion perpetua (40 years per term) for the crime. On January 25, 1999, the Philippine Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court. On August 29, 1999, Sanchez was given a double life term by the Supreme Court for a different case. Together with his seven life terms for the Sarmenta-Gomez murder, Sanchez will have to spend a total of 360 years in jail.[5]

Release order controversy[edit]

A report by GMA News showed that Sanchez could have walked free in August 2019, according to a document bearing the signature of then-Bureau of Corrections director Nicanor Faeldon.[16]

The document said the release order was for one Antonio Leyza Sanchez, "who was found to have served 40 years upon retroactive application of RA No. 10592 and was certified to have no other legal cause to be further detained, shall be released from confinement." RA 10592 is the law allowing convicts an early release based on good conduct time allowance (GCTA).[17]

Sanchez's kin had said that they were informed about Sanchez's impending release, but public outrage prompted the government to review the GCTA law.

On September 4, 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon after the latter approved the release of Sanchez.[18][19]

Adaptation in popular culture[edit]

Mayor Sanchez's involvement in the Sarmenta-Gomez murder case was the inspiration for the 1994 film Humanda Ka Mayor!: Bahala Na Ang Diyos!. The film, produced by Regal Films and Golden Lions Productions, is based on Mayor Sanchez's account, with his name in the film changed to Mayor Miguel Beltran was portrayed by Dick Israel, and criminal activities. Sunshine Cruz portraying Sarmenta and Jeffrey Santos portraying Gomez.[20][21]

The case was first featured on Philippine crime docudrama program S.O.C.O. in 2006, and in 2019, dubbed as the "Sarmenta-Gomez Rape-Slay Case."

The case was also featured on a Philippine crime documentary program Crime Klasik as its first episode, "Ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez Case."

The case was also featured on a Philippine investigative docudrama program Imbestigador as its 34th episode, "Gomez-Sarmenta Rape-Slay and Murder Case.", Mayor Antonio Sanchez was portrayed by Jim Pebanco. Sanya Lopez portraying Sarmenta and Juancho Trivino portraying Gomez.

Timeline of the murder case[edit]

  • Night of June 28–29, 1993 – Mayor Antonio Sanchez's 6 henchmen kidnapped Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, just outside the UP Los Baños campus, and presented the girl to him as a "gift" in a farm rest house in Laguna. The mayor raped Sarmenta, handed her over to the 6 to be raped again before she was shot in the face, according to court records.[22]
  • August 13, 1993 – Mayor Sanchez was arrested, but maintained he was innocent. He then accused Kit Alqueza, son of Gen. Dictador Alqueza, who was charged of masterminding Gomez's killing.
  • September 12, 1993 – The court formally read the case against Sanchez, along with the six henchmen: Then Calauan deputy chief of police George Medialdea, Luis Corcolon, Rogelio Corcolon, Zoilo Ama, Pepito Kawit, and Baldwin Brion.
  • January 25, 1995:
    • In a hearing, Sanchez denied the allegations against him.
    • Sanchez's lawyers Mario Ongkiko, Antonio Bucoy, and Ernesto Brion begged off from the case following a "serious professional disagreement". Among those left to tend for the cases were Salvador Panelo, now chief presidential legal adviser, and Marcelino Arias.
  • March 14, 1995 – Judge Harriet Demetriou of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court founds Sanchez and several henchmen guilty of the rape-slay and sentenced them to seven terms of reclusión perpetua (up to 40 years of imprisonment for each term). The Calauan mayor was also told to pay millions in damages to the Gomez and Sarmenta families.
  • January 25, 1999 – The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Regional Trial Court that convicts Sanchez and several henchmen for the deaths of Sarmenta and Gomez.
  • October 10, 2006 – During a surprise inspection, authorities found shabu and marijuana inside Sanchez's jail. He was charged with possession of illegal drugs.[23]
  • July 2010 – Sanchez was caught again with ₱1.5 million worth of shabu concealed in a statue of the Virgin Mary.[23]
  • November 2015 – An air conditioning unit and a flat-screen TV were also seized from him during a raid.[23]
  • June 25, 2019 – The Supreme Court decides to void certain portions of RA 10592, which grants additional good conduct time allowance to inmates, thereby making its application retroactive instead of prospective.
  • August 20, 2019 – Bureau of Corrections Director General Nicanor Faeldon announced that Sanchez was likely to be released in two months, which according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was due to a law passed in 2013 increasing good conduct time allowance and a Supreme Court (SC) decision applying this law retroactively.[24]
  • August 21, 2019:
    • Ma. Clara Sarmenta, Eileen's mother, said they plan to appeal the possible release of Sanchez, adding she was "shocked" after being informed that the convicted killer of her daughter was a candidate for release.[25]
    • News of Sanchez's possible release has since sparked outrage especially from social media.[26]
  • August 22, 2019:
    • Students and alumni of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, the alma mater of Sarmenta and Gomez, held a rally to protest Sanchez’s supposed release.[27]
    • Amid rumors that Sanchez had freely been in and out of prison, prison guards allowed the media to take fresh photos of the convicted murderer.[28]
    • Despite the outrage, BuCor Director General Nicanor Faeldon has changed tune and said Sanchez may be disqualified from the good conduct and time allowance (GCTA) rule based on several grounds.[29]
  • August 23, 2019:
    • Women’s group Gabriela holds a rally in front of the Department of Justice to express their rejection of the government’s decision to give Sanchez an early release from prison.[30]
    • The SC, in a statement by spokesperson Brian Hosaka, denied ordering the release of Sanchez when it ruled on the retroactive application of RA 10592.[31]
    • Mayor Sanchez has maintained his innocence for the 1993 rape-slay of Sarmenta and the murder of Gomez and said he deserved to be freed.[32]
  • August 26, 2019 – President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon not to release convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.[33]
  • September 2, 2019:
    • The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee holds a joint probe into the supposed early release of rape and murder convict Former Mayor Antonio Sanchez and the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) Law.[34]
    • Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon confirms that George Medialdea, Rogelio Corcolon and Zoilo Ama, the three men who were convicted for the June 1993 rape and killing of Sarmenta and Gomez were already dead in jail.[35]
  • September 3, 2019:
    • The family of rape and murder convict and former Calauan, Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez were showed up at the Senate for the resumption of the probe into the controversy surrounding the possible release of their patriarch.[36]
    • The Sanchez family has maintain their intention that they will not pay the ₱12.6-million court-mandated damages to the families of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez who were murdered in 1993.[37]
    • Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) executive director Reynaldo Bayang revealed in a Senate inquiry that Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who served as Sanchez’s defense counsel in the high-profile 1993 Sarmenta-Gomez rape-slay case, wrote the BPP regarding Sanchez's application for executive clemency in a letter dated February 26.[38]
    • Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo has confirmed a meeting with the family of his former client, convicted rapist-killer Antonio Sanchez, in Malacañang earlier this year.[39]
  • September 4, 2019 – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon after the latter approved the release of Sanchez who was convicted in the June 1993 rape and murder of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez.[40][41]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 6:09-. Mas tumibay pa ang teorya ng isumite ng Calauan police sa PNP Crime Laboratory Office ang isa pang empty shell ng M16 rifle mula sa lugar ng kinatagpuan sa bangkay ni Gomez. Agad itong isinailalim sa ballistics examination kung saan lumabas sa pagsusuri ng firearms identification division ng crime lab na ang bagong sumiteng empty bullet shell ng M16 at ang natagpuan M16 shell sa loob ng Tamaraw FX ay ipinutok mula sa iisang M16 rifle.
  2. ^ Kathleen M. Dijamco (March 23, 1995). "Senators on Sanchez: Triumph of Justice". Filipino Reporter. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2016 – via HighBeam Research. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  3. ^ "GMA News Research: Celebrated rape cases in the Philippines". images.gmanews.tv. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  4. ^ "G.R. Nos. 111771-77". www.lawphil.net. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  5. ^ a b Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 3:34-4:01. Ayon sa lumantad na testigo, gabi noong June 28, 1993, nang sapilitang pasukin at kunin ng security team ng dating alkalde si Eileen at Allan sa loob ng sasakyan. Dinala raw ang dalawa sa Erais Farm na umano'y na pag-aari ni dating Mayor Sanchez kung saan sinasabing ini-regalo si Eileen.
  6. ^ BALIKAN: Salaysay ni Aurelio Centeno, star witness sa Sarmenta-Gomez slay | TV Patrol.
  7. ^ "Gagged, tied: Eileen Sarmenta's abduction". The Manila Times. September 4, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "People vs Sanchez : 121039-45 : January 25, 1999 : J. Martinez : First Division". www.chanrobles.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  9. ^ Inquirer, Philippine Daily. "WHAT WENT BEFORE: 'A plot seemingly hatched in hell'". newsinfo.inquirer.net. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  10. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. (1:35-2:06) Noong June 29, 1993, isang tawag sa telepono ang natanggap ni Clara Sarmienta. Bungsod nito, agad silang nagtungo ng kanyang mister sa Barangay sa Calauan, Laguna. Pagdating doon, napag-alaman nila nawala ang anak na si Eileen. Natagpuan daw itong walang buhay sa loob ng isang van.
  11. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 2:06–2:34. Sa post-mortem examination na isinagawa ni Medico Legal officer ng PNP Crime Laboratory Office. Lumalabas na hinalay muna na si Eileen bago pinaslang. ...na si Doctor Joseph Palmero ang nagbigay ng paliwanag sa naging resulta. "Definitely na nagkaroon ng sexual contact dahil may nakitang sperm at saka fresh laceration sa kanyang hymen.
  12. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 2:34-2:57. Isang bangkay na lalaki naman ang natagpuan sa masukal na bahagi ng isang barangay sa Caluan, Laguna at napansin may tama ng bala ng baril sa ulo at likuran. Ang ginang na si Illuminada Gomez, hindi makapaniwala sa sinapit ng anak. Natukoy ang direktang ikinamatay ni Allan.
  13. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 3:12-3:35. Hanggang sa lumutang ang dalawang lalaki sa himpilan ng pulisya. Kapwa nagpakilala ang dalawa bilang mga tauhan ni Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez. Tahasan nila itinuro ang noo'y alkalde na si Sanchez bilang utak sa panggagahasa at pagpatay kay Sarmienta at Gomez.
  14. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 5:02-. Malaking hamon ang para sa taga-pagsiyasat ang imbestigasyon. Idinadawit kasi ng mga lumutang na testigo ang noo'y alkalde na si Sanchez at kanyang mga tauhan. Pahirapan daw noon ang pagkalat ng mga ebidensya, lalo't pa nga't ma-impluwensiya at makapangyarihan raw ang suspek sa kaso.
  15. ^ Malagim na Resbak | SOCO. 5:25-. Ang Toyota Tamaraw FX na kulay green na pag-aari ng pamilyang ng biktima na si Allan Gomez. Sa pag-po-proseso ng mga otoridad sa Tamaraw FX, nalaman nilang nilinis na ito sa harapan ng Calauan municipal hall bago na ito nai-turnover sa pulisya. Sa kanilang imbestigasyon, lumabas na isang Rogelio "Boy" Corcolon ang nag-report sa Calauan police ukol sa nakitang bangkay sa loob ng Tamaraw FX. Si Corcolon ay isa sa mga bodyguard noon ni Calauan Mayor Sanchez at dito na mas lumkas ang hinala ng mga otoridad laban sa alkalde.
  16. ^ "Faeldon signed Sanchez's release order, document shows". GMA News Online. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  17. ^ "SONA: Sanchez, nakatakda umanong lumaya base sa isang release order na may pirma ni Faeldon" (in Tagalog). Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  18. ^ "Duterte fires BuCor chief Faeldon". ABS CBN News. September 4, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  19. ^ "Duterte fires Faeldon amid release of Chiong convicts, Sanchez mess". GMA News. September 4, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Caparas, Carlo J. (2000-01-01), Humanda ka Mayor!: Bahala na ang Diyos, retrieved 2016-07-20
  21. ^ "NoBenta: Massacred Movies: God Saved the Industry". no-benta.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  22. ^ "'A plot hatched in hell': Timeline of the Gomez-Sarmenta murder case". ABS CBN News. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  23. ^ a b c Cabico, Gaea Katreena (22 August 2019). "Good behavior? Prison violations, murder convictions mar Sanchez's record". Philstar.com.
  24. ^ Macairan, Evelyn (21 August 2019). "Ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez set for release". Philstar.com.
  25. ^ Fenol, Jessica (21 August 2019). "'The pain came back': Eileen Sarmenta's mom hits ex-mayor's upcoming release". ABS-CBN News.
  26. ^ Esguerra, Christian (21 August 2019). "Impending release of convicted rapist-murderer Sanchez sparks outrage". ABS-CBN News.
  27. ^ Baron, Gabriela (22 August 2019). "UPLB Community: Ex-Mayor Antonio Sanchez must never walk free". Manila Bulletin.
  28. ^ "LOOK: Convicted rapist-murderer Sanchez still detained in Bilibid". ABS-CBN News. 22 August 2019.
  29. ^ Arcilla, Jan (23 August 2019). "Sanchez's release hangs". The Manila Times.
  30. ^ Putla, Benjamin (24 August 2019). "'Former mayor deserves to rot in prison'". Philstar.com.
  31. ^ Putla, Benjamin (23 August 2019). "No order to free ex-mayor Sanchez: SC". Philippine News Agency.
  32. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Rape-slay convict Sanchez claims innocence, says he deserves to be freed". ABS-CBN News. 23 August 2019.
  33. ^ Kabiling, Genalyn; Quismorio, Ellson (26 August 2019). "Don't free Sanchez — Duterte". Manila Bulletin.
  34. ^ "Faeldon says all convicts benefit from GCTA law". ABS CBN News. September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  35. ^ "3 convicts in Sarmenta-Gomez slay case already dead —Faeldon". GMA News. September 2, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019.
  36. ^ "Sanchez family shows up at Senate's GCTA law probe". Philippine Daily Inquirer. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  37. ^ "Sanchez family admits no intention of paying damages to Sarmenta, Gomez families". GMA News. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  38. ^ "Parole official: Panelo wrote to pardons board on ex-client Sanchez's clemency plea". ABS CBN News. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  39. ^ "Panelo confirms Malacañang meeting with family of ex-client rapist-killer Sanchez". ABS CBN News. September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
  40. ^ "Duterte fires BuCor chief Faeldon". ABS CBN News. September 4, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  41. ^ "Duterte fires Faeldon amid release of Chiong convicts, Sanchez mess". GMA News. September 4, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019.