• Death sentence for drug traffickers sought anew

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    A bill penalizing with death for drug traffickers nabbed in the country has been resurrected in the House of Representatives.

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    Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed House Bill 1213 which metes a penalty on foreign drug traffickers arrested in the Philippines based on the anti-drug laws in their home country, provided that such penalty is higher than what is provided in the Philippine laws. If Philippine laws are found to impose the harsher penalty, then it would prevail over the laws of the home country of the foreign drug trafficker.

    The proposed law is apparently aimed at Chinese traffickers, in particular.

    China imposes the death penalty for drug traffickers. On the other hand, the Philippines only metes lifetime imprisonment as the harshest sentence for the same offense because the death penalty was scrapped by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.

    “The aliens [foreigners]who violate our Dangerous Drug Act should be punished with whichever is the higher penalty. These foreigners use our country for their drug operations. Without death penalty, where would be the equity in there?” Rodriguez asked reporters.

    Rodriguez was referring to Chinese syndicates which use Filipinos as mules to transport illegal drugs from the Philippines to mainland China.

    In fact, four Filipino drug convicts have been executed in China in the past three years, namely: Elizabeth Batain, Ramon Credo and Sally Villanueva in March 2011 and an unidentified Filipino woman just this July 3.

    “This is a matter of [serving]justice. Our country is not a haven for their drug operations. [The proliferation of] illegal drugs is the biggest problem in our society. They [traffickers]should be stopped. They need to disappear,” Rodriguez added.

    Rodriguez’s measure was approved by the House on January 28 this year and was received by the Senate on January 31. The Senate, however, failed to act on the measure.

    “It wasn’t acted upon by the Senate the last time out so I would seek the support of my colleagues there this time, particularly those whom I supported last elections,” Rodriguez added.

    Rodriguez was referring to re-elected Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, who is from Cagayan de Oro.

    Rodriguez was present in a dinner hosted by Pimentel with local leaders of Cagayan de Oro at one time during the campaign period earlier this year.

    Llanesca T. Panti

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