MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday slammed the House of Representatives' swift approval of the bill reviving the death penalty.
De Lima, a former Commission on Human Rights chair, lamented the “bullying and and arm-twisting” tactic employed by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in getting the members of the lower chamber to vote for the bill.
Alvarez had vowed to remove lawmakers with leadership positions in House who voted against the measure.
“Oh my… we’re witnessing a gangster-type of leadership in the other chamber of Congress, and for that matter the highest echelon of government,” De Lima said in a statement written in her detention cell.
De Lima also slammed Alvarez’s suggestion to look into the taxes being paid by religious institutions. The senator said this was obviously in retaliation for the Church’s stance against the death penalty and the extra-judicial killings in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
The final vote for House Bill 4727 came down to 217 voting for the bill, 54 voting against it, and 1 abstention.
Among the prominent lawmakers who voted against the bill were Deputy Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto, members of the Makabayan bloc, and those from the Liberal Party.
Among those who voted "no," Arroyo, Santos-Recto, Reps. Emmy de Jesus, Carlos Zarate, Antonio Tinio, Kit Belmonte, Kaka Bag-ao, and Josephine Ramirez Sato hold leadership positions.