House majority drops rape from crimes punishable by death

Rg Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2017 05:19 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2017 09:35 PM

The House majority on Monday has decided in a caucus to whittle down the controversial bill reimposing the death penalty to cover only 3 offenses.

The three offenses are drug-related crimes, plunder and treason.

"Ang napagkasunduan we whittle it down to a minimum number of offenses muna so 3. Drug related offenses and then plunder and then treason. Yun yung compelling reasons muna," House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas told reporters after the caucus.

Farinas justified the decision to drop other crimes from the coverage of the bill, including rape, saying they could add other offenses if the Senate passes the bill.

"Kami ang posisyon ni Speaker, whittle natin sa bare minimum tingnan natin kung papasa sa Senate kasi if we include so many offenses and di maski isa di papasa sa Senate," he said.

He also justified the inclusion of treason in the list saying it serves as a warning to the public that "giving aid and comfort to the enemy is against the state and it is a heinous crime which will merit the death penalty depending on circumstances."

The majority also issued an ultimatum to critics of the bill to maintain a quorum in plenary sessions or a vote on the measure will be set on February 28.

Previously, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told reporters that plunder will be dropped from the list but after the caucus Monday, the decision has been to keep it in the bill. 

"Sinama namin to maintain it in the bill. The media kasi had the notion that it was removed from the bill. We did not remove anything in fact the bill as it stand includes plunder and 20 other offenses," Fariñas said.