'Bato' files bill reimposing death penalty, asks Church for understanding

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2019 05:20 PM

Newly elected senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa speaks to the members of the media during a press conference at the Philippine Senate Building in Pasay City on July 04, 2019. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa on Thursday appealed for understanding from the Catholic Church and other “pro-life” groups as he pushed for the reimposition of death penalty.

Dela Rosa filed Thursday, July 4, Senate Bill 226 which imposes death as maximum penalty for the importation and manufacture of illegal drugs and its precursors.

The bill, which seeks to amend portions of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, also imposes death penalty for the cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs.

Dela Rosa said he expects lighter opposition to his proposal as he is only pushing for the reinstatement of death penalty for those involved in high-level drug trafficking. He said he believes that his bill would not be branded as an anti-poor measure.

“I expect lesser opposition from my colleagues sa Senate, dahil di ito mahihirap, mga big-time itong bibitayin natin. Sana suportahan nila ako,” Dela Rosa said in a Senate forum.

(I expect lesser opposition from my colleagues in the Senate, because we would not go after the poor but those who are big-time. I hope they support me.)

“Sa Church, [at mga] pro-life na ayaw talaga ng death penalty, remember lahat naman tayo sumusunod sa bibliya. Nasa bibliya naman ang death penalty na iyan… Sana maintindihan ng Church ang aking version.”

(To the Church and pro-life groups which reject death penalty, remember that death penalty is in the bible. I hope the Church understands my version.)

Dela Rosa said he will have to discuss with his fellow senators and advisers the implication of the Philippines’ international obligation not to reimpose the death penalty, given the country’s ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Aside from Dela Rosa, Senators Panfilo Lacson, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Manny Pacquiao have filed their respective bills seeking the reimposition of death penalty.

Dela Rosa said if it were up to him, he would also opt for a public firing squad for drug convicts.

He, however, admitted that even one of his children expressed concern over the carrying out of a public execution.

“But how can we send the message to the Philippine society na ganito dapat ang mangyari? (that this is how things should be?)” he said.

“Fear, deterrence, para hindi na pamarisan. Iyan ang gusto natin.”

(We should promote fear and deterrence so these people would not be emulated. That’s what we want.)