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Antonio Sanchez hospitalized, says BuCor spox

Convicted former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez has been admitted to the national penitentiary's hospital after experiencing flu-like symptoms, the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) said Tuesday.

BuCor spokesman Gabriel Chaclag confirmed that Sanchez, who was convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of college student Eileen Sarmenta and the murder of her friend Allan Gomez, was returned to the New Bilibid Prison hospital after being rejected by the Ospital ng Muntinlupa.

Chaclag said Sanchez, who had symptoms of flu, was brought to the city hospital but was refused admission because the facility lacked space for a "probable COVID patient."

He said Sanchez experienced shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

Asked when Sanchez's illness started and whether he has any underlying condition, Chaclag said: "Matagal na may sakit palagi 'yan... iba't iba." Sanchez is over 70 years old.

Sanchez was reported last year as having been due for early release from prison on account of a good conduct-based deductions to his sentence. Met with public and official criticism, his case triggered authorities to revise the rules for granting prison time allowances.

The investigation of the issue also spilled over to other allegations of anomalies in the corrections bureau.

As of July, the BuCor had recorded more than 300 COVID-19 cases, including 18 deaths, in two of its seven facilities nationwide. — RSJ, GMA News