MANILA - The chance of reviving the death penalty is now higher under the 18th Congress as long as it would be imposed on “high-level” drug traffickers, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday.
There were attempts to reimpose the death penalty under the previous Congress but it failed to pass due to opposition from rights groups.
“Ang tingin ko, kung meron mang may pag-asa, yung high-level drug trafficking lang, at ang sitwasyon ngayon, masasabi ko lang, nadagdagan yung boto in favor, so far,” Sotto told dzMM.
(It will have better chances if it would only be imposed on high-level drug traffickers. I can say more senators would vote on the proposed measure.)
The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish 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.
The House of Representatives last year approved on third and final reading a bill reimposing capital punishment, but only for drug-related offenses.
Sen. Manny Pacquiao in the previous Congress filed 3 separate bills seeking the death penalty for drug trafficking, kidnapping, and aggravated rape. Several other senators also filed capital punishment proposals for different crimes, but discussions on these were not prioritized.
In the 18th Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte’s close ally, Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, filed the imposition of death penalty for high-level drug trafficking as one of his priority measures.
Former police chief and now Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa also said he would file a similar bill.