Death penalty bills to come alive in new Philippine Senate

Death penalty bills to come alive in new Philippine Senate
PHOTO: AFP

At least two Philippine senators will file bills on July 1 to reimpose the death penalty in keeping apparently with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte's wishes.

Reviving capital punishment will be among the first 10 measures to be filed by each of Sen. Vicente Sotto III and returning Sen. Panfilo Lacson ahead of the formal opening of the 17th Congress on July 25.

All incoming members of the Senate are in the process of readying the first 10 bills each will file come July 1.

Duterte recently said in Davao City that he viewed the death penalty-which was repealed during the Arroyo administration in 2006-as retribution for one's crimes against society. "When you kill, rape someone you should pay for it," he had said.

Lacson, however, said he saw the death penalty differently.

In a text message, Lacson said this was the first time he was filing a death penalty bill and it would cover "all heinous crimes" as defined in Republic Act No. 7659, or the Death Penalty Law that was repealed in 2006.

Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said he saw capital punishment as a deterrent to crime while Duterte saw it as retribution.

Lacson said his bill would specify death by lethal injection and not by hanging, as Duterte had said he preferred but which Lacson found to be "medieval.""I believe the mere knowledge one's death is forthcoming is the ultimate punishment," Lacson said.

The nine other bills Lacson will file include the budget reform for village empowerment act, national ID reference system act, amendments to the antimoney laundering act and bank secrecy law, and the anti-wire tapping and SIM card registration acts.

Sotto said he would refile the death penalty bill he first submitted in 2014 which seeks to revive the old capital punishment law or RA 7659. His bill would also propose death by lethal injection.

Sotto's other bills have to do with addressing the drug problem, an antidrug penal institution act, the creation of a Presidential Anti-Drug Authority, creation of a dangerous drugs court, and providing for affordable drug rehabilitation treatment for PhilHealth beneficiaries.

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