House poised to pass 'watered-down' death penalty bill

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2017 03:20 PM

House poised to pass 'watered-down' death penalty bill 1

MANILA- The House of Representatives is poised to pass a watered-down version of the bill reimposing the death penalty.

The Supermajority will meet in a closed door caucus again on Monday to perfect the amendments to the bill which is now one step short of the vote on 2nd reading—-which is indicative of the vote on final reading.

The plenary adjourned last week after adopting the substitute bill during the period of amendments. The substitute bill reduced the crimes that will be punishable with death penalty to just 4 from the original 21--rape, treason, plunder and illegal drugs. 

House Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali said he thinks they can no longer water down the bill.

"I don't know how much more we can water it down. It's already watered down, from 21 crimes down to 4," he said.

"We have agreed through the causes to reduce the crimes covered to 4 namely treason, plunder, rape and drugs and even within drugs binawasan pa natin yun possession is not covered," he added.

He admitted that the amendments of the bill made it more acceptable to lawmakers.

The Monday meeting will be a fine tuning of the gravity of provisions of the bill according to Umali, such as the specifics of the 4 crimes.

"We will just tweak the substitute bill to just make sure ma-cover yung the more grave crime doon sa final version namin but only will fall within the 4 crimes covered," he said.

Umali also raised the possibility of voting on the bill earlier than scheduled—which is on Tuesday.

'NO PRESSURE FROM CATHOLIC CHURCH'

Meanwhile, Rep. Estrelita Suansing and Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia both maintained there is no Church pressure on them to vote against the bill.

"The answer is no. There is no movement from the Church convincing us [how] to vote," Suansing said.

"Our archbishop of the Diocese of Cebu, Archbishop Palms, has not made any move whatsoever. Perhaps they also know my position is for the death penalty. [I'm] supporting the same position my father had in [the] 8th and 9th congresses," Garcia added.