Passage of death penalty bill eyed in mid-2017

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 16 2017 05:27 PM

MANILA - The House of Representatives could pass separate measures that will restore death penalty and lower the age of criminal liability by the middle of this year, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's allies said Monday.

The House Justice Committee has endorsed the death penalty bill to the plenary, where it will be subjected to debates and possible voting, said its chairman, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali.

Duterte has urged Congress to pass both measures to help move his anti-crime campaign forward.

"Ang personal target ko dito is before the end of the first regular session. Iyung passage namin I don’t know if this has already moved sa Senate. I think it will probably coincide with the action of the Senate on the matter."

(My personal target for the passage is before the end of the first regular session. I don’t know how the bill is moving in the Senate. I think the actions of the House of Representatives and the Senate on the bill will coincide.)

The two measures, however, are expected to be met with opposition at the Senate. 

"We respect their (senators) views on that. As far we are concerned, we have a job to do and if this is what it takes for the House of Representatives to pass, we will do it it regardless of what action the Senate will take on the pending bills before it,” Umali said.

Umali said he was not for the reimposition of the death penalty until he saw the extent of the alleged illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison, which was investigated by his committee.

The lawmaker, however, sidestepped a call to subject the bill to a conscience vote, where lawmakers will vote on the bill based on their personal conviction instead of the official line of their respective political parties.