No signs Senate will derail Duterte bills

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CONCERNS that the new Senate majority would not be helpful in ensuring passage of President Rodrigo Duterte’s priority bills in Congress have turned out to be unfounded based on proposed measures filed recently by senators who belong to the majority bloc of incoming Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.

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It was Sen. Alan Peter Cayeteno who earlier raised his concern over the composition of the new Senate majority and the committee chairmanships, which he said may be used to block Duterte’s plans.

Cayetano, who is also eyeing the Senate presidency, particularly cited the decision of the majority to give the Public Order and Dangerous Drugs committee to Sen. Panfilo Lacson and the Justice and Human Rights committee to Sen. Leila de Lima.

The two committees, according to him, are key to the passage of Duterte’s anti-crime and anti-drug measures including the proposed reimposition of the death penalty and the two senators may be used to block them.

But based on records of the Senate bills and index department, Lacson was among those who filed a bill seeking to revive the death penalty and impose it for a wide range of heinous crimes from drug-related offenses to treason, terrorism and human trafficking.

The senator, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, noted an alarming surge of heinous crimes in recent years had shown life imprisonment, in lieu of death penalty, is not a deterrent to grave offenders.

The reimposition of capital punishment is one of the priorities of Duterte and the only difference between the President’s proposal and the one filed by Lacson is the mode of execution because Lacson wants lethal injection over hanging.

Lacson, in a radio interview on Sunday, assured that he will not railroad the passage of the measure and would conduct continuous hearings if the measure will be referred to the committee on public order and illegal drugs.

Aside from Lacson, Sen.Vicente Sotto 3rd, who is part of the new majority, also filed his own version of the bill reviving the death penalty and other proposed measures that would help address the country’s drug problems.

It was also a member of the new majority who filed a bill granting the President emergency powers in order to solve the traffic crisis not only in Metro Manila but in other highly urbanized areas in the country.

JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA

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