MANILA - Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa on Tuesday revived his push to reinstate death penalty in the Philippines after a policeman brutally shot to death an unarmed mother and son in Tarlac during an argument.
The slay of Sonya Gregorio, 55, and her 25-year old son Frank Anthony Gregorio could have been deterred if a law reviving death penalty in the country had been passed, Dela Rosa told reporters in a text message.
"That rouge cop deserves the death penalty," said the senator, referring to Police Senior Master Sgt. Jonel Nuezca.
"'Yung ginawa ng pulis na cold-blooded killing is double murder and a heinous crime na dapat ang parusa ay death penalty pero hanggang ngayon hirap na hirap pa ring umusad 'yung ino-author kong death penalty bill," said Dela Rosa, a former police and corrections chief and ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been pushing for the death penalty revival.
(The cold-blooded killing perpetrated by a policeman is considered as as double murder and a heinous crime that is punishable by death, but until now the death penalty bill I authored is having a hard time hurdling Congress.)
"Deterrence. Sino pa ang gustong pumatay ng tao kung alam niyang papatayin din siya via death penalty?" he said.
(Who would want to kill if they know that they would also be killed via death penalty?)
Under Dela Rosa's Senate Bill No. 226, only high-level drug traffickers may be sentenced to capital punishment. The proposed measure does not cover heinous crimes.
"My bill covers high level drug trafficking while Sen. [Christopher] Bong Go’s bill covers heinous crimes so if our death penalty bills were tackled by the referred committee then chances are that it will be consolidated," he said.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senators Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian, Imee Marcos and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. also filed different measures reviving capital punishment, he said.
"Unluckily no hearing yet was done since the opening of the 18th Congress," he said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva said he would only support the revival of the death penalty if and when the Philippines develops an "efficient justice system."
"[I] am open po to discussion and debates, but you can only convince me if we have a working and efficient justice system," he said in a separate text message to reporters.
The revival of the death penalty was among Duterte's campaign promises in 2016, when he began pushing for the eradication of drug syndicates in the country.
Death penalty was initially allowed in the Philippines through Republic Act 7659 signed in 1993 by then President Fidel Ramos.
His successor, former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada signed Republic Act 8177, specifically designating lethal injection as the mode of carrying out capital punishment.
The imposition of the death penalty was abolished by a law in 2006 under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a devout Catholic.