President Rodrigo Duterte wants plunder and rape to be next in line among the heinous crimes punishable with death penalty, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Wednesday.
In an ambush interview with reporters, Alvarez said he met with the President Tuesday night after the House in a vote of 217 passed House Bill 4727 seeking to restore capital punishment on final reading.
Duterte was pleased with the results of the House third reading vote on the death penalty, a campaign promise he vowed to fulfil as President, Alvarez said.
The death sentence in the bill however was limited to drug-related offences.
Alvarez said while Duterte was pleased death sentence on drug offences was approved, he wanted plunder, rape with homicide, and rape on children to be next under death row.
The majority caucus in the House agreed to limit the bill on drug-related offences to increase its chances of being approved in the lower House. Plunder and rape were among the heinous crimes removed.
"Well, masaya siya at nagpapasalamat kahit na 'yung illegal drugs 'yung naipasa at 'yun ang sabi niya dapat mapasama 'yung plunder, rape - especially 'yung rape with homicide at 'yung rape nung mga children," Alvarez said.
(Well, he's happy and he expressed gratitude that death penalty on illegal drugs was approved. He said hopefully plunder and rape would be included, especially rape with homicide and rape on children.)
Alvarez said he assured the President that plunder and rape would be next under death row. Alvarez and Duterte are close allies with their ties going back to the 11th Congress when they were both Davao representatives.
"Ang sabi ko naman na ito ay isusunod namin. Sa bagay, tapos na ito sa committee level, pag-uusapan na lang naming sa floor (What I told him was that plunder and rape would be next. After all, the death penalty on these crimes hurdled the committee level, we can talk about it on the floor)," Alvarez said.
The Speaker earlier said the House may tackle in the future other bills punishing rape and plunder with capital punishment.
He said that House leadership has to be realistic about imposing the death penalty on drug-related offences first before pursuing capital punishment on other offences.
The death penalty bill has been amended to limit its coverage to drug-related offences, in a bid to support the administration's bloody narcotics crackdown that has claimed over 7,000 lives.
The bill as it has been amended excluded plunder, rape and treason from the death sentence.
The bill will not impose a mandatory death sentence, giving the judge the leeway whether to impose life sentence or the maximum penalty of death on convicts.
The bill will punish with death or life imprisonment the following drug-related offences:
- importation of dangerous drugs
- sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs maintenance of a den, dive or resort
- manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
- misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs
- planting of evidence
Possession of drugs will only be penalized with the maximum offence of life imprisonment.
The bill stated that the death penalty should not be imposed on children below 18 years old or senior citizens over 70 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime.
The penalty will be carried out by hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.
Now that the bill has hurdled the lower House, the ball is now in the hands of the Senate, where the deliberations over the bill face a gridlock over discussions on the country's treaty obligations to abolish the death sentence.