Senate expected to tackle death penalty by May or June

Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2017 12:19 AM

Debates at the Senate are expected to go in full swing by May or June, with all 6 members of the minority voting against the return of capital punishment, said Deputy Minority Leader Bam Aquino on Tuesday.

On the day that the House of Representatives approved the death penalty bill on third reading, Aquino also said that he sees a close fight among senators on the upper chamber’s version of the measure.

He hopes that more senators who have yet to make a stand on the death penalty will thumb down the bill, Aquino told ANC’s Beyond Politics.

“There are some senators who attend hearings without any judgements yet…hoping to be convinced by either side…we are hoping to convince more senators not to vote for it,” he said.

As with other Liberal Party lawmakers, Aquino said he does not believe the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

“Nowhere has it shown it lowers crime rate…since we had death penalty, the cases, lahat may automatic review, and 70 percent of the cases reviewed found errors in the determination of the penalty,” he said.

Anecdotally, he added, many Filipinos suspected of crimes have no means to pay for the services of skilled lawyers, so they are unable to effectively plead their cases.

After the death penalty, he will also oppose the bill lowering the age of criminal liability, which he heard is supposedly next in the agenda of Congress, Aquino said.

“We don’t want to see a 9-year-old hanged or killed by firing squad or lethal injection…Kung ginamit [ang bata] para sa krimen, iyong gumamit ang dapat maparusahan,” he said.

Catch the full interview of Senator Bam Aquino on Beyond Politics, at 1 p.m. Wednesday on ANC