MANILA - Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson has withdrawn his authorship of a bill seeking the imposition of death penalty on individuals convicted of heinous crimes, he said on Tuesday.
This came after the 2022 presidential aspirant last week said he was having "second thoughts" on his stance regarding death penalty, a position that drew praise from the Catholic Church.
Lacson also sent a letter to the Senate's Secretary requesting that "his bill, Senate Bill 27, no longer be considered for deliberation by the Senate panels concerned," he said in a statement.
"Mas mainam na ang guilty ikulong habang buhay sa halip na inosente ma-execute dahil sa pagkakamali," said the lawmaker who was once chief of the national police.
(It's better for the guilty to be imprisoned for life, than to have innocent people executed based on wrong judgments.)
Lacson said he changed his mind especially after watching the movie "The Life of David Gale", which is about an advocate for death penalty elimination who was falsely accused of a crime and found himself on death row.
His running mate in the 2022 elections, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, has also changed his stance on the issue.
Lacson said he now backs life imprisonment and the suggestion of Sotto to "confine drug lords in a 'super max' penitentiary."
Amnesty International had said death penalty is not only cruel, inhumane, and mostly affects those living in poverty, it does not also work as an effective way to deter people from committing crime.
Lacson's fellow 2022 presidential aspirants, Sen. Manny Pacquiao and Sen. Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa, have previously pushed for the reimposition of death penalty in the country, with the former saying in discussions over the weekend with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines that convicted plunderers and drug traffickers deserve it.
Lacson, Pacquiao, and Dela Rosa are among 97 individuals who filed their candidacy for president in the May 9, 2022 elections.
The list, which also includes Vice President Leni Robredo, former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, and labor leader Leody De Guzman, among others, will be trimmed in the coming weeks to remove those the Commission on Elections will declare as nuisance candidates.