Did Poe flip-flop on death penalty?

ABS-CBN Investigative & Research Group

MANILA – Did Senator Grace Poe flip-flop on the issue of reinstating the death penalty? Interviews of the senator culled by ABS-CBN Investigative & Research Group suggest that the presidential aspirant may have changed her stand on the matter.

In the March 20 presidential debate in Cebu City, Poe expressed her support for capital punishment – along with Duterte.

This seems to contradict her previous anti-capital punishment stand since her 2013 senatorial campaign.

During DZMM’s ''Ikaw na ba para sa Pamilyang Pilipino?'' interview on Nov. 4, 2015, Poe said the government should exhaust all means to combat drugs and criminality before resorting to the death penalty.

She said: ''Subukan muna natin na iimplementa itong mga anti-drug programs natin bago tayo mag-resort nyan. Dahil sa sistema ng hustisya, mahirap makadepensa ng patas ang mahihirap.''

In ANC’s Harapan Senatorial debate in 2013, meanwhile, Poe was among six candidates who said they were not in favor of the death penalty.

Likewise, in a Bandila report aired on May 10, 2013, she said: ''Kasi hindi ako sang-ayon sa death penalty…para mabawasan ang kriminalidad, kailangan magkaroon ng dekalidad na trabaho at tamang edukasyon. Kahit naman sabihin mong magiging strikto ang batas, mananatili pa rin ang kriminalidad.''

During Sunday's presidential debate, however, Poe seemed to have changed her tune on the matter, saying she is in favor of reinstating capital punishment.

In the ''Taas-Kamay'' segment of the debate, Poe and Duterte raised their hands when asked if they were in favor of the death penalty.

While raising her hand, Poe had to clarify that she only favors death penalty for those convicted of heinous crimes.

She also clarified on Monday that before this happens, the justice system in the country must be improved first.

"Aayusin muna natin ang sistema ng hustisya para naman ang mahihirap ay hindi biktima dahil kulang ang kanilang representasyon. Dadagdagan natin ang budget ng Public Attorney's Office at lalagyan natin ng magagaling na abugado para ang mahihirap, kayang depensahan ang sarili," Poe said.

DIVORCE

In the same Nov. 4, 2015 dzMM interview, Poe said she approves of divorce, but cautioned that the matter needs to be studied well.

"Approve. Pero pag-aaralang mabuti sapagkat baka hindi pa napapanahon. Legal separation ay palakasin at annulment. Sinasabi kong approve ang divorce for discussion."

During the debate, Poe and all her fellow candidates did not raise their hands when asked if they agree with the legalization of divorce.

Poe said she favors making the annulment process more affordable for Filipino couples.

READ: How much does annulment cost?

"Malinaw naman 'yung stand ko noon, na kailangan sa ating bansa ay maging affordable at within reach ang annulment. Kasi sa annulment na 'yon, meron na silang mga guidelines kung saan dapat talaga kahit mahirap ka, kahit hindi ka-kahit na wala kang magaling na abogado, e kailangan kung ikaw ay inaabuso, ay sapat na 'yon; at puwede naman talagang mangyari 'yon,'' she said.

''Ang mahirap kasi sa divorce, lalo na ang 'no-fault divorce', 'yung para bang 'ayoko na sa iyo so bahala ka na sa buhay mo.' Siguro sa ating bansa, kailangan muna natin palakasin ang annulment, at 'yon naman talaga 'yung stand ko noon pa."