Senators split on Duterte’s death penalty push

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2019 10:04 PM

MANILA - Senators are divided on President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed push for death penalty for heinous crimes, citing different reservations on the reimposition of capital punishment.

Duterte “respectfully requested” lawmakers during is fourth State of the Nation Address to revive the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs, as well as plunder.

“I’m glad he did not center on one type because we were looking at the possibility to pass it if it is confined to high-level drug trafficking,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III told reporters.

“We’ll try to convince some of our colleagues. It’s a heavy debate but we will just have to work on it,” he said.

Duterte’s partymates Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa both said they are open to back the bill if it would only be limited to drug-related crimes.

“Yung version ko is only for drug trafficking, hindi kasama plunder,” Dela Rosa said.

“Sa proponents ng death penalty this all I can say is as soon as you expand the coverage to more than 1 heinous crime then more uphill climb,” Pimentel said.

The Congress should work to ensure that ”heinous crime” would not be loosely defined, said Sen. Imee Marcos, another administration ally.

Minority senators are not amenable to any form of death penalty.

“Sa aming tingin ay hihirap lamang ang puwedeng maparusahan because of our very defective justice system,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.

Capital punishment does not deter crimes, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

“Ang tunay na deterent sa krimen ay ang pagsasaayos ng ating criminal justice system,” she said.

Duterte had pushed for the reimposition of death penalty under the 17th Congress to propel his war on drugs.

The House of Representatives passed the measure in the past Congress, but its counterpart bill languished in the Senate.