Death penalty for drug convicts has ‘better chances’ of passing in Senate now — Sotto

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020. Filed under: News Philippine News World News

MANILA, July 28 (Mabuhay) — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said the revival of death penalty for drug-related offenses now has a better chance of being passed in the 18th Congress.

In a message to reporters, Sotto said the bills seeking to revive capital punishment have simply not been prioritized in previous years.

He pointed out the proposed measure died with the adjournment of Congress, not junked altogether by lawmakers.

“We can try again another shot at it, especially now that the President focused only on crimes in RA 9165. Better chances,” Sotto said.

Republic Act 9165 is also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

During his fifth State of the Nation Address, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to craft a law imposing the death penalty for drug-related offenses.

“This bill will help us deter criminality and save our children posed by the illegal and dangerous drugs,” he said.

The call, however, has not been met with a loud applause from lawmakers present in Batasang Pambansa.

Duterte also made the same appeal during his previous SONA.

At least four death penalty bills are pending in the Upper House. These were all filed in July 2019.

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, an ally of the President, has long been lobbying for the reinstatement of capital punishment for illegal drug traffickers.

“I’m happy that he appealed to Congress for the passage of the death penalty law for drug trafficking because my death penalty bill has been languishing at the referred committee for one year already without actions taken,” Dela Rosa, former chief of the Philippine National Police, said in a message.

Chairing the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, Dela Rosa also said in January that he would push for Senate hearings on the revival of the death penalty.

Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson—also an author of a pending death penalty bill—acknowledged that the proposed measure would go through the eye of a needle before becoming a law.

“While personally, I support the passage of a death penalty law, my count in the Senate tells me that it will face a very rough sailing in the Upper Chamber,” he said.

The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines during the Arroyo administration in 2006. (MNS)

ALSO READ: House to discuss death penalty bills thoroughly –Romualdez

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