Sotto backs death penalty, but only for drug kingpins

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2017 10:21 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2017 10:45 AM

MANILA - Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III on Thursday said the death penalty should cover only "high-level" drug traffickers.

"Sinabi ko na noong umpisa pa lang, doon lang ako sa high-level drug trafficking... Sapagkat andoon ang pinaka-major na problema e, hindi naman dito sa baba," Sotto told radio DZMM.

"Ang numero unong dahilan kung bakit dito nagma-manufacture iyang mga Southeast Asian at Asian nationals na nahuhuli dito sa atin ay sapagkat dito lang sa atin walang death penalty."

(I've said from the start that I am only in favor of death penalty for high-level drug trafficking because that is where the major problem lies, not on the street level... The main reason why Southeast Asian and Asian nationals manufacture drugs here is because we don't have death penalty.)

Limiting the death penalty to drug bigwigs also nullifies arguments that the measure is against the poor, who cannot afford lawyers and case appeals, Sotto added.

Senators, he said, have yet to reach a consensus on the definition of "high level" drug trading.

Sotto first sought the restoration of through lethal injection in 2014 by proposing to repeal Republic Act 9346 or "An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines."

Hopes for the revival of capital punishment were fanned anew by President Duterte, who conquered the May elections with a hardline stance against crime.

His allies in the lower chamber of Congress approved Wednesday the proposed Death Penalty Law, on 2nd reading in a viva voce vote.