Drilon: no resurrection of death penalty at the Senate

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 26 2017 01:57 PM

MANILA - The bill seeking to revive the death penalty is already "dead in the Senate." 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said this Wednesday as the chamber is expected to tackle the proposal when the session resumes next week. 

The chamber has failed to get a consensus on the bill, a priority anti-crime measure of President Rodrigo Duterte. 

"It’s dead and the chances of resurrecting it before we even bring it to a vote are very slim, if not zero, at least in this Congress," Drilon said in a statement. 

He said the measure, a version of which was speedily passed at the House of Representatives in March, does not have enough votes at the chamber. 

“By my own estimate, there are at least 13 senators who will block the passage of the death penalty bill, including the six-member minority group and seven from the majority block,” Drilon said.

Seven bills are currently pending at the Senate seeking to restore the death penalty for various crimes.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the revival's fiercest sponsor, has three proposals to impose the death penalty on convicts of aggravated rape, kidnapping and drug-related crimes.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has two: one seeks an amendment to the 2002 anti-drug law to impose the death penalty for drug sale and trading, and another for heinous crimes such as child trafficking, exploitation, pornography and rape. 

Sen. JV Ejercito is proposing to revive the death penalty for a foreigner found guilty of drug trafficking in the Philippines. 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson meanwhile proposed to revive the punishment as maximum penalty for those convicted of terrorism, plunder, bribery, treason, piracy, kidnapping, drug-related crimes, parricide, murder, infanticide, rape, and destructive arson.

Apart from the authors, Drilon identified Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Cynthia Villar as those who have expressed support for the revival in media interviews.

Meanwhile, those opposed to the proposal other than Drilon are the other minority members: Senators Francis Pangilinan, the detained Leila De Lima, and Benigno Paolo Aquino of the Liberal Party (LP), Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, an LP guest candidate during the elections, and Sen. Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV.

De Lima has a pending bill seeking to prohibit the reimposition of death penalty.
 
Drilon said another LP member, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, is also against the controversial measure.
 
“We are ready to lead the fight against the death penalty bill. We believe that a death penalty law was not and will never be an effective deterrence against crime,” Drilon said.
 
“It will be detrimental to the poor who will be made victims of this cruel and inhumane punishment due to the inefficiencies of our judicial system,” he added. -- With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres