HAS congress given up on the death penalty bill?
This question surfaced after Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan announced on Tuesday that the measure that seeks to reinstate the death penalty was not included in the list of priority bills.
Pangilinan said they expected the bill to be in the list because the reimposition of capital punishment is one of the legislative agenda of the administration.
The senator said leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives met two weeks ago to identify several measures that would be given priority before Congress adjourns sine die on June 2. The death penalty bill was not mentioned.
“We were surprised that it was not included. So maybe they are looking at buying more time and maybe after the SONA (State of the nation address) that’s when they will move in the Senate,” Pangilinan said during the weekly Bulong Pulungan news forum held at Sofitel.
Pangilinan, the president of the Liberal Party (LP), said the bill will not get much support from the Senate.
Only five senators have openly indicated support for the measure — Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd and Senators Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian, Manny Pacquiao and Cynthia Villar.
Ten senators are either against the bill or are not inclined to support it — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino 4th, Grace Poe, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Leila de Lima, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes 4th, Risa Hontiveros, Richard Gordon and Pangilinan. Seven senators are undecided.
Pangilinan however admitted that senators may still change their positions on the issue.
Pulse Asia’s recent survey showed that 67 percent of Filipinos support the reimposition of the death penalty.
Pangilinan said that even if the bill is passed, executions will happen at least six years from its passage.
Hontiveros agreed, adding the there is no concrete proof that the imposition of the death penalty prevents crime. What the government should do, she added, is to reform the justice system, modernize law enforcement policies.
Meanwhile, Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. said that the Catholic Church is against the imposition of the death penalty.
“It is quite clear that it is not absolutely necessary to reimpose the death penalty because there are many more ways by which we can deter crimes, even heinous crimes,” he said.
“Much of the world today has already gone beyond the eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth response so let us not go back. Let us not step backward anymore,” the retired Novaliches bishop added.