Death penalty bill to be urgent

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

President Rodrigo Duterte is most likely to certify the passage of the death penalty bill as urgent, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte urged Congress to pass a bill for the restoration of death penalty for drugs and plunder in his fourth state of the nation address (SONA) on Monday for that very reason.

“Given na sinabi niya iyon sa (that he mentioned it in his) SONA, most likely,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing when asked if Duterte would certify the death penalty bill as urgent.

Panelo said the passage of the death penalty bill will still depend on Congress.

He, however, explained that Duterte’s insistence to pass the bill reinstating capital punishment to curb illegal drugs and corruption in the country.

Ang feeling ni Presidente ‘yan ang pinakamabigat na problema natin (The President feels this is our biggest problem). One, is corruption; number two, is iyong sa droga kaya siguro mas gusto niya iyon (drugs, that’s why he wants it)– hoping that it will mitigate the upsurge of this drug menace as well as the plunderous activities of the plunderers,” Panelo said.

Asked what method of execution the President would prefer, Panelo said Duterte may prefer to stick with lethal injection.

“Kung tatanungin mo siya, walang gastos eh ano na… lubid. But I think, iyong dati natin siguro, lethal injection (If you’d ask him, he would prefer not to spend government funds so…by hanging. But I think, we’ll stick with the old method, lethal injection),” Panelo said.

The lethal injection was prescribed as a method of execution until President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9346, which abolished death penalty and downgraded the maximum penalty for crimes to imprisonment of 40 years or life imprisonment in 2006.

Two of Duterte’s allies in the Senate, Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Christopher “Bong” Go vowed to push for the restoration of death penalty for illegal drugs and plunder.

In 2017, the House of Representatives approved a death penalty measure (House Bill 4727) for heinous drug-related crimes.

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