MANILA - Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Tuesday said the death penalty "may somehow deter" serious crimes after President Rodrigo Duterte moved to reinstate capital punishment.
"Ordinary human behavior indicates that the fear of being put to death for the commission of a crime will naturally prompt a criminally minded person to think twice," Guevarra said in a statement.
Guevarra said it was up to Congress to determine which crimes are heinous.
"The constitution grants the Congress the authority to impose the death penalty for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes," he said.
The death penalty bill faced strong opposition from senators of the 17th Congress but the President's allies in the new Senate could pave the way for the revival of the measure.
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.