THE Palace won’t endorse death penalty for plunderers just yet.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar bared the stance after President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives decided to exclude plunder from the list of crimes punishable under the proposed death penalty bill.
Plunder is committed when a public official siphons off at least P50 million worth of public funds.
“That is the issue of the Lower House. We know that the House is an independent body in crafting laws, and so I defer to the Lower House and I respect…I would like to express that we at the Presidential Communications Operations Office respect their independence,” Andanar said in a radio interview.
“We’ll be waiting for the House to finish their deliberations first. We will wait for the final version [before making a comment],” he added.
Andanar, however, assured the public that the President won’t treat grafters with kid gloves.
“The President already has repeatedly warned government workers not to engage in corruption because they will be the first ones to go. He won’t think twice in firing them and filing charges versus these corrupt government officials, especially those involved in illegal drugs, illegal gambling and plunder,” Andanar said.
The Palace is unfazed by the supposed threat to oust House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte because of the latter’s hard-line stance on the death penalty bill.
Alvarez has warned House leaders opposed to the death penalty bill that they would be removed from leadership posts.
“Speaker Alvarez said those things to show his dedication and strong belief in the policies of our President. He is just standing his ground,” Andanar added.