ANTI-crime advocates on Friday warned that without the death penalty, heinous crimes would continue and get worse, to the point that criminals would start Islamic State-style executions.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), claimed criminals have become ruthless—beheading, mutilating and burning their victims.
“Criminals eliminate victims through beheading or burning the bodies to use the legal principle of ‘corpus delicti’ or no crime, no case,” Jimenez said in an interview.
Jimenez again called on Congress to prioritize the passage of the death penalty bill to deter heinous crimes.
Congress, particularly the Senate, appears to be not interested in expediting the passage of the bill, one of the priority legislative measures of the President, Jimenez said.
The House Committee on Justice passed House Bill 1 restoring the death penalty last month. The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, headed by Sen. Richard Gordon, has yet to start discussions on the measure.
In the Senate, there are at least seven proposals calling for the revival of the death penalty for heinous crimes and drug-related crimes, filed by Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd and Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson and Emmanuel Pacquiao.
“Why is the Senate taking so long to begin discussion on the bill? Do they want vigilantism to continue instead of having a state-sanctioned penalty of death for heinous crime cases?” Jimenez said.
Jimenez pointed out that Duterte got 16 million votes after promising to eliminate illegal drugs, crime and corruption as well as restore the death penalty.
Several senators including those from the Liberal Party (LP) are against the revival of the death penalty, unconvinced that it would deter heinous crimes.
Jimenez pointed out that death penalty failed to deter crimes in the past because of the failure of previous administrations to implement it properly and continuously.
Previous presidents gave in to pressure from the Church and other groups who are against capital punishment, he claimed.
Not a priority
Sotto, in a separate interview, said the passage of the death penalty bill was not among the measures expected to pass the Senate by March.
The majority leader said senators, during a caucus Wednesday night, agreed to focus on the passage of their pet bills during the two-month legislative session and tackle the remaining bills in May.“But we will also tackle [the death penalty]. We expect a long debate on the bill, that is why we are not optimistic that we can pass it by March,” he explained.