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Death penalty bill approved by House Justice Committee


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MANILA, Philippines - A substitute bill seeking to re-impose the death penalty as punishment for heinous crimes has been approved by the House justice committee on Wednesday, December 7.

The bill proposes hanging, lethal injection and firing squad as methods of carrying out the sentence.

Death penalty bill approved by House Justice Committee
PHOTO CREDIT: The Libertarian Republic
Twelve members of the panel approved the committee report, while 6 voted against it and one abstained. The substitute bill consolidates several similar measures reimposing the capital punishment for over 20 heinous crimes such as treason, plunder, murder arson with death, kidnapping for ransom and rape with homicide. Its swift approval will pave the way for the measure to be taken up on the plenary floor.

For Leyte Rep. Vicente "Ching" Veloso, a former Court of Appeals justice, it is about time to reimpose death penalty in light of “habitual delinquents”, whom he said are no longer afraid of the maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

"We are giving the court here the option. Kung ang nasa harap mo na ay si Satanas, bigyan mo naman ng option ang gobyerno na tanggalin na iyan. Satanas na iyan ha,” Velosa said.

No Compelling Reason to Bring Back Death Penalty

During the discussion, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao said they find no compelling reason to bring back death penalty.

Bag-ao said in response to Veloso’s “Satanas” reference: "Hindi naman po si Satanas ang nahaharap dito. Ordinaryong tao po at kadalasan mahirap.”

Citing Section 19, Article III of the Constitution, Bag-ao stressed that the death penalty is not acceptable under the Constitution and should not be allowed without any compelling reason.

Meanwhile, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte said death penalty will only “hurt the state, hurt our entire institutions”.

On the other hand, majority leader Rodolfo FariƱas insisted that the framers of the 1987 Constitution kept the option of capital punishment. According to him, they would have abolished it if they thought the death penalty was wrong.

During his campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte promised to restore death penalty, which according to him, is necessary for his war on drugs.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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