The death of a Bureau of Corrections official in Muntinlupa City was being linked to the release order for convicted rapist-murderer Antonio Sanchez.
Ruperto Traya Jr, chief administrator officer 3 in the bureau assigned at the Inmate’s Document Processing Division, was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in motorcycle on the afternoon of August 27.
Traya, 53, alighted from his vehicle to open the gate of his rented parking lot along Amparo Street at Barangay Poblacion when the assailant shot him in the head.
Traya’s wife, who was with him when the attack happened, said she did not know anyone who would harbor a possible grudge or threaten the BuCor official.
Her husband worked in the division responsible for collating and processing papers on the recomputation of the Bilibid inmates’ good conduct time allowance, or GCTA, following the retroactive application of Republic Act 10592.
Authorities are investigating the incident, but according to Police Major Allan Rainier Cabral, Muntinlupa’s police investigation chief, it was “definitely well-planned.”
Initial probe: No link to Sanchez
Initial investigations, on the other hand, showed it could be related to Traya’s alleged involvement in illegal drugs, Police Major General Guillermo Eleazar said.
“Ang nakikita nila, masasabi nga daw na iyan ay natransfer sa Leyte dahil may allegation, may sinasabi na involvement sa drugs,” Eleazar, the Metro Manila police chief, said in an interview.
Eleazar dispelled the notions that it could have been related to the previous prospect of freedom for Sanchez, whose children claimed a release order dated August 20 was issued to the patriarch.
“Under investigation pa siya… Doon kay Sanchez, wala naman so far nakikitang koneksyon doon,” the Metro Manila police chief said.
Speculations, calls for probe online
The issue nevertheless didn’t escape some Filipino observers who saw connections between the murder.
They noted that Traya directly worked in the recomputation of the inmates’ good conduct record, the basis for Sanchez’s possible release.
Talks of Sanchez’s release
Despite the Palace’s opposition to the possible release of the former Calauan mayor, Sanchez’s children claimed he has a release order from the BuCor dated August 20.
Allan Antonio Sanchez, the convict’s eldest son, said Sanchez was Number 187 on the list of inmates who were supposed to be granted freedom.
Allan said that an unnamed individual informed them about the release order.
Sanchez’s bags were packed and his fingerprints reportedly already processed— a part of the release procedures — the night before the anticipated date of release.
When his children arrived at the gates of the national penitentiary, however, they were informed that the patriarch’s release was suddenly placed on hold.
“We were shocked because the first time we talked [with BuCor officials] they said he was included. Mayor Sanchez will be able to get out within two months. Then things changed somewhat. I don’t know if he was pressured or something or if they just didn’t want my father to be released,” Allan said in an interview.
He added that he specifically talked to BuCor chief Nicanor Faeldon about the expected release.
“Sir Faeldon, we talked. You said, you promised that you will release my daddy according to the GCTA, for which he was qualified. We believed that my daddy will be among those who will be released,” Allan said.
Anthony Collioni, another son of Sanchez, claimed that some BuCor officials even congratulated them upon their arrival since their father would supposedly be released from prison.
“That means those inside Bilibid already knew that our father will be getting out,” he said.
But Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who supervises BuCor, said that Faeldon has denied having approved of the supposed order guaranteeing Sanchez’s freedom.
“I have been informed that BuCor chief Faeldon denies having signed a release order for Sanchez. Likewise, no report on such matter has been received by the DOJ,” Guevarra said.