Pacquiao backs death penalty in debut speech
INVOKING God, the Bible and the Constitution, Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Monday addressed the Senate floor for the first time and called for the revival of the death penalty to reduce drug related crimes.
In a speech that earned praise from his peers despite the divergence in opinion, Pacquiao underscored the urgency of reinstating the death penalty for convicted drug traffickers, calling the offense among “the most heinous” of crimes that destroys lives and families.
“We need to clarify that from then until now, the Constitution never barred the imposition of the death penalty, especially in the eyes of God,” said Pacquiao.
“The death penalty is lawful, moral and sanctioned governmental action. Having read the Bible on a regular basis, I am convinced that God is not just a God of mercy, but also a God of justice,” said the boxer and Christian preacher.
Pacquiao quoted Bible passages in his 14-minute speech, citing how God exacts justice and even allows capital punishment to punish crime.
He also cited the Constitution’s exception on the death penalty for heinous crimes.
Pushing for one of President Duterte’s legislative priorities, Pacquiao’s Senate Bill No. 185 was the focus of his speech.
‘Kick the chair’
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III asked Pacquiao what his preferred form of death was, pointing out that such should be explicit in his proposal.
Pacquiao at first said what was important to him was to first reinstate it, but he later said he would go for either firing squad or hanging.
“Sisipain lang po ‘yung upuan (We just have to kick the chair),” Pacquiao said, drawing laughter from the gallery.
He later apologized when Sen. Francis Pangilinan raised this point, saying the death penalty was not a laughing matter.
Sen. Joel Villanueva took the podium, saying that while he was open to reviving capital punishment, the rule of law must be bolstered.
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