Death-penalty proposal still alive in the Senate

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THE proposed reimposition of the death penalty is still very much alive in the Senate, contrary to earlier claims of some senators in the minority bloc that it is already dead, Sen. Francis Escudero said on Thursday.

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Escudero, who opposes the planned restoration of capital punishment, added that he was able to get the respective positions of senators on the matter two months ago and they are different from a statement earlier made by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

Drilon recently said in a news forum that the bill seeking to restore the death penalty in the country was already dead in the Senate with at least 13 senators likely to reject it.

“I don’t believe that the death penalty is dead in the Senate and I hope he [Drilon] will not assume that and be complacent,” Escudero said, as he maintained his position against capital punishment.

According to him, there is a chance that the death penalty will gain the Senate’s nod.

Five death penalty bills are pending before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights headed by Sen. Richard Gordon.

Escudero said that there was a proposal to limit the imposition of the death penalty to high-level drug trafficking and there is a big possibility that the move could convince more senators into supporting the proposal.

“What is clear is that the version of the House of Representatives which involves firing squad and hanging won’t have a chance of passing in the Senate,” he added.

Sen. Richard Gordon, in a separate interview, said the fate of the death penalty is still too close to call, adding that his position against it would not change.

Gordon reiterated that instead of imposing capital punishment, the government should work on improving the prison system and adopting a stricter policy on life imprisonment.

“We have to really make sure that when we do impose life imprisonment, it should really be in prison, where prisoners are seen undergoing hard labor and far from their families,” he said.

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