MANILA - Expected to soon cement his electoral victory, administration senatorial bet Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa on Saturday said he would push for the revival of the death penalty against drug traffickers and police officials who are linked to the illegal drug trade.
Resurrecting the death penalty would be among his legislative priorities once he assumes office, the former Philippine National Police chief said in an interview on DZMM.
"Isama natin sa death penalty 'yang mga pulis na sangkot sa droga, mahilig mag-planting ng droga," said Dela Rosa, consistently in the top 12 of the senatorial race in the ongoing count.
(Let's include in the death penalty police officers who are involved in illegal drugs and who plant drugs on suspects.)
"'Yung mga ganung pulis dapat diyan isama sa death penalty para matuto at matakot na gumawa ng kalokohan," he said.
(That kind of police officer should be included in the death penalty so they would learn their lesson and they would be deterred from committing foolish acts.)
During Dela Rosa's time at the PNP, he waged war against police scalawags, including those tagged in the drug trade.
The PNP welcomes efforts to reinstate capital punishment, a legislative priority of the Duterte administration, but noted that the police leadership believes that "this is not the time to reinstate the death penalty," PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac earlier told reporters.
"Patungkol sa death penalty, ang pamunuan ng PNP ay may pananaw na hindi pa napapanahon dahil kailangan munang mapag-aralan ng husto at ma-set in place ano ’yung mga measures na hindi po maabuso," he said.
(As far as the PNP leadership is concerned, this is not the time to reinstate the death penalty. It must first be thoroughly studied, and proper measures need to be in set place to prevent people abusing it.)
Talk of the death penalty reinstatement resurfaced earlier this week after Senate President Vicente Sotto III said its passage would be more doable under the incoming Congress as it is dominated by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In February, the House of Representatives withdrew its approval of a bill that imposes the death penalty for drug offenses.
A separate bill reviving the death penalty hurdled the House under former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez but has languished at the Senate.
The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty in 1987, but it was reinstated under President Fidel Ramos in response to increasing crime rates. It was abolished again under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.