With supermajority in Congress, Duterte renews pitch to revive death penalty

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2019 05:57 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2019 12:27 AM

MANILA (UPDATE)- With his allies dominating Congress, President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his pitch for the revival of the death penalty.

During his fourth State of the Nation Address, Duterte asked Congress to reinstate capital punishment for heinous crimes related to drugs and corruption.

“I respectfully request Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs as well as plunder,” he said.

“We have not risen above and beyond the parochial interest. Our loyalty to family, friends, and tribal kin continue to exact a heavy toll on the programs designed to uplift the poor,” he said, quoting Filipino writer F. Sionil Jose.

Calling the illegal drug problem as a “social menace,” the President said it would not be solved unless corruption is addressed.

“I am aware that we still have a long way to go in our fight against this social menace. Let the reason why I advocate the imposition of the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs… the drugs will not be crushed unless we continue to eliminate corruption that allows this social monster to survive,” he said.

The death penalty bill has faced strong opposition from senators of the 17th Congress. The House of Representatives, however, passed the proposed measure.

With Duterte’s candidates dominating the recent midterm elections, the administration could find it easier to pass bills with more support from the Senate.

Duterte has been hoping to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines, where nearly 80 percent of its population is made up of Catholics, as he wages his war on illegal drugs and pursues an anti-crime campaign.

In the last Congress, the House withdrew its approval of a bill that imposes the death penalty for drug offenses. The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006.