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Antonio Sanchez, former mayor of Calauan, Laguna


The Sarmenta-Gomez Case

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 09:32:00 11/09/2008

Filed Under: Crime

MANILA, Philippines -It was the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde come to life. His public image was that of a devout Catholic, while his hidden persona was that of a monster who masterminded what Judge Harriet O. Demetriou later called ?a plot seemingly hatched in hell.?

Antonio Sanchez, then mayor of Calauan, Laguna, had a collection of icons of the Blessed Virgin Mary and was often on his knees in church. This, he had insisted, was proof that he was innocent in the rape-murder of Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of Allan Gomez, both students of the University of the Philippine Los Baos (UPLB).

Star witnesses Aurelio Centeno and Vicencio Malabanan, a member of Sanchez? security team, admitted having abducted Sarmenta and Gomez, but denied any involvement in the rape of Sarmenta and the twin killings that followed.

In court, Centeno and Malabanan recounted that on June 28, 1993, they were driving around in an ambulance with George Medialdea (then the Deputy Chief of the PNP Calauan), Zoilo Ama, Luis and Rogelio Corcolon, Pepito Kawit and Baldwin Brion. Their purported mission was to arrest a notorious gun runner and drug pusher, but Luis Corcolon later revealed that they were to pick up a ?a pretty young lass long desired by the Mayor and offer her to him as a gift.?

After cruising around the UPLB campus, they found Eileen and Allan in a parked Tamaraw van at the Agrix complex, and abducted both students at gunpoint. Centeno, who drove the ambulance, claimed that all the while Medialdia was reporting by radio to a man he addressed as ?Boss,? later identified as Mayor Sanchez. They proceeded in the two vehicles to Erais Farm in Barangay Curba, owned by Sanchez, where the students were bound and gagged.

When Sanchez arrived, Luis Corcolon presented the girl to him, saying, ?Mayor, this is our gift to you, the girl you?ve been longing for.? Corcolon also explained that they had to seize Allan as well ?to avoid complications.?

Eileen was taken to the Mayor?s room while Allan was beaten up by the Corcolon brothers, Ama and Medialdea. At around 1 a.m. the next day, a weeping Sarmenta?hair disheveled, mouth covered by a handkerchief, hands still tied and stripped of her shorts?was dragged out of the resthouse by Luis and Medialdea. Sanchez, clad only in a white shirt, appeared and thanked Luis and Medialdea for the ?gift,? and said, ?I am through with her. She?s all yours.? The students were then loaded in the van, followed closely by the ambulance.

On the way to Calauan, a gunshot was heard from the van. Then the vehicle pulled over and Kawit dragged Allan, whose head was already drenched in blood, onto the road and fired again with his armalite. Later, in a sugarcane field in Sitio Paputok, Eileen was gang-raped at the back of the van by the Corcolon brothers, Medialdea, Ama, Brion and Kawit. Luis Corcolon later shot her with his baby armalite. Everyone then boarded the ambulance and proceeded to Calauan, leaving the Tamaraw van into which they had loaded Eileen?s body.

The bodies of the two students were found the next day by teams that ironically included the very perpetrators of the crimes. Initial investigations led by Medialdea pointed to Kit Alqueza as the prime suspect, with the theory that the son of Gen. Dictator Alqueza had wanted to get back at Allan Gomez after the latter began dating Alqueza?s former girlfriend.

A break in the case came when Centeno and Malabanan turned state witness. Their testimonies became the basis for the arrest of Sanchez on August 13, 1993.

Other evidence presented were the M16 empty bullet shell recovered at the site where Allan?s body was found and the metallic fragments from Eileen?s body, which were traced to the rifle surrendered by Luis Corcolon.

After a 16-month trial, on March 11, 1995, in a 132-page decision, Judge Demetriou of the Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 70, found Sanchez, Medialdea, the Corcolon brothers, Ama, Brion and Kawit guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape with homicide on seven counts.

On January 25, 1999, the Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the RTC. 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 rape-slay, Sanchez will have to spend at total of 360 years in jail. Schatzi Quodala, Inquirer Research

Copyright 2015 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




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