House OKs bill imposing death for possession of drugs at parties
MANILA, Philippines — Any person found possessing dangerous drugs at a party, social gathering or meeting may soon face penalties of “life imprisonment to death” after the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 8909 on Monday.
Section 13 of HB 8909 states that “any person found possessing any dangerous drugs during a party, or at a social gathering or meeting, or in the proximate company of at least two persons shall suffer the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine of P500,000 to 10 million, regardless of the quantity and purity of such dangerous drugs.”
The proposed law, an amendment to the Republic Act No. 9165 or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002,” was approved on third and final reading by the lower chamber with 172 votes and zero negative votes or abstention.
In a phone interview with INQUIRER.net, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers clarified that the provision indeed meant death penalty for violators but only once HB 4727, which seeks to reimpose the death penalty, is enacted into law.
Barbers, one of the principal authors and the chair of the House dangerous drugs committee, also explained that the bill would “complement” the previously approved death penalty bill by the chamber in 2017.
HB 8909 also seeks to penalize negligent lessors of properties used as clandestine laboratories.
Once the measure is enacted into law, negligent lessors may face imprisonment ranging from six years and one day to 12 years, and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million. The maximum penalty would be imposed upon the owner or lessor or his duly authorized representative who has discovered the illegal activity but failed to report the same to proper authorities, the bill added.
On March 7, 2017, the House already gave its nod to House Bill No. 4727 seeking to reimpose capital punishment for heinous drug-related offenses with a vote of 217-54-1. But this bill remains stagnant as the Senate has yet to act on the lower chamber’s controversial bill.
House Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, deputy speaker at the time, opposed this measure. The death penalty was suspended through Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed by then-President Arroyo on June 24, 2006.
Read HB 8909 here:
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