MANILA – House Speaker Alvarez on Monday defended the House of Representatives’ decision to pass on second reading a significantly watered-down version of the bill reviving the death penalty.
No less than President Rodrigo has questioned why plunder and rape were excluded from the charges covered by the death penalty revival. Treason was also removed from the list of crimes punishable by death under the bill.
In the approved version of the bill, only drug-related offenses were deemed punishable by death.
Alvarez said they had to exclude the other offenses from the final coverage of the death penalty bill out of expediency.
"Baka nga medyo mabagal yung galaw ngayon. Gusto natin meron tayong output agad kung hindi naman halimbawa tinanggal na talaga yung ibang crimes inuuna lang natin yung related to illegal drugs," Alvarez told reporters.
He said the lower chamber was just being realistic in removing the other crimes from the bill.
“We have to be realistic kasi kung gusto natin sabay sabay, matagal pag-uusapan. Mabuti isa isa na lang para meron nagagwa kasi siyempre pagdede-batehan pa bawat crime."
Alvarez said, soon after the bill is passed, he will file a bill to expand the list of crimes covered by death penalty. He also raised the possibility of other crimes being inserted into the bill when it goes into the bicameral conference committee.
Death penalty critic, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, for his part said, "The exclusion of plunder, treason and rape from the death penalty bill and the retention only of serious drug-related offenses must have been a premeditated ploy to make the bill acceptable to those originally opposed or hesitant to vote for the bill."
Alvarez is eyeing to have the bill passed the third and final reading before the lower chamber goes on a break on March 18. – with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News