Proponents in Senate say death penalty not dead

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 27 2017 05:32 PM | Updated as of Apr 27 2017 06:05 PM

MANILA - Senators in favor of restoring capital punishment for drug-related crimes contradicted Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon's statement that the measure is already "dead" at the upper house.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who is seeking capital punishment for drug trading and heinous crimes, believes the proposals may still garner support from his colleagues.

"In my view, the support of the other senators for the death penalty will depend on the number of crimes that will be included in the bill," he replied to a query from ABS-CBN News.

"Most of the senators support the administration's fight against illegal drugs. If the death penalty will be limited to drug-related crimes, then it will get ample support from senators," he added.

Drilon on Wednesday declared that the bill seeking the revival of the death penalty was "dead in the Senate" and will not have enough support votes in the chamber, unlike in the House of Representatives where it was approved last month. 

Senator Vicente Sotto III, who has signified support for the death penalty but only for "high-level" drug traffickers, hit Drilon for such pronouncement even before the Senate began its discussions.

"He is not Nostradamus, neither am I. Let's wait for the debates before saying so. I do not think it is proper to speak for others unless you are designated as spokesman," he replied to a query from ABS-CBN News.

Sotto also underscored that Drilon "does not think the same as 61% of our people," who according to the latest SWS survey, favored the revival of capital punishment.

Earlier, Senator Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao expressed confidence that the death penalty bill, which is a priority anti-crime measure of President Rodrigo Duterte, will be approved.

Pacquiao has filed three separate bills seeking the death penalty for drug trafficking, kidnapping, and aggravated rape.