Sanchez: Second chance

Nature speaks

LIKE most Filipinos, I was shocked that former corrections chief Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa said that convicted rapist and murderer Antonio Sanchez “deserves a second chance.” Him that callously said, “That sh_t happens” after a three-year-old girl was fatally shot in a police anti-drug operation.

This, amid uproar over the impending release of the former Calauan, Laguna mayor after imprisonment for 24 years—far less than his sentence of seven terms of reclusion perpetua (40 years) over the rape and murder of University of the Philippines-Los Baños student Eileen Sarmenta and the slay of her companion Allan Gomez in June 1993.

I believe that despite his heinous crime that was “hatched in hell,” the convict deserves a chance to life—behind bars.

I cannot put myself to write the convict’s full name. I hate it when friends ribbed me of linking my family to the felon. My father’s name is Benedicto M. Sánchez, a provincial fiscal who sent suspects to jail—or the electric chair. I find it an insult to our names to be associated with him.

I find it even embarrassing that being Laguna, there are so many Sanchezes out there. Just check the white directory. We are all over the place: Metro Manila, Pampanga, Mindanao, and Bacolod.

To my chagrin, I learned from my second cousins that we might even be related to the Calauan convict. The clan name is stigmatized by the perfidy. As if we shave something to do with the crime.

I can connect with what Katrin Himmler felt when she committed her pen to paper as her way of coping with having Heinrich Himmler in her family.

“It’s a very heavy burden having someone like that in the family, so close. It’s something that just keeps hanging over you.”

Himmler, key architect of the Holocaust, was her great-uncle, and her grandfather and his other brother were also in the Nazi party.

She wrote The Himmler Brothers: A German Family History, in a quest to “bring something positive” to the name of Himmler.

“I did my best to distance myself from it and to confront it critically. I no longer need to be ashamed of this family connection.”

No, we have nothing to do with what boss did. Even if it’s true that we are related by blood (no one among the cousins researched the connection, if any), no one should tar us with his crime.

I love my names. I don’t want to be associated with the names of Himmler, Goering, Goeth and Hoess that still have the power to evoke the horrors of Nazi Germany, but what is it like to live with the legacy of those surnames.


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