MANILA — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Friday he gave up his membership at the Senate justice committee so that his colleague Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa could join deliberations on the revival of the death penalty.
Dela Rosa, a former national police chief, won as senator with a campaign promise of killing convicted drug lords.
“I can see Senator Dela Rosa’s passion and also research and a lot of work doing research on death penalty,” Gatchalian told ANC.
“To give him an opportunity to participate in the deliberations of the committee as well as to vote in the committee, I relinquished my membership,” he added.
Sen. Richard Gordon remains as the committee’s chairperson, which allows him to dictate its pace and proceedings, said Gatchalian.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday urged lawmakers to reinstate capital punishment for crimes related to narcotics. Gatchalian earlier filed a bill that sought death penalty for high-level drug traffickers.
“Even [if] the drug lords are convicted and put in jail, they still maintain their operations, they still conduct businesses,” said the senator.
“In my view, if we don’t mete the death penalty of the drug lords, we will have a very difficult time in curbing drugs on our streets, on our communities,” he went on.
Deliberations on the death penalty may take up to one year and a half, he said.
“By the time we vote, hopefully the pandemic will be over,” said Gatchalian.
— With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News