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House recalls death penalty for drug possession at parties

/ 04:20 PM February 06, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has recalled the third reading approval of a bill imposing the death penalty against any person found possessing dangerous drugs during a party, or at a social gathering or meeting, two days after it was green-lighted last Monday.

“Madam Speaker, I move that we recommit House Bill No. 8909 to the committee on dangerous drugs to allow the committee to introduce necessary amendments thereto,” Assistant Majority Leader and Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Rep. Wilter Palma II said during the plenary session on Wednesday.

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The motion was approved without objection.

But hours after, Deputy Majority Leader and Kabayan Rep. Ron Salo moved for the reconsideration of the recommitment of the bill to the panel level. The motion was approved, which made the measure pending at the plenary level.

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“Madam Speaker, earlier we recommitted House Bill No. 8909 to the committee on dangerous drugs for necessary amendments. I move, Madam Speaker, that we reconsider the recommitment of House Bill No. 8909 to the committee on dangerous drugs,” Salo said.

READ: House OKs bill imposing death for possession of drugs at parties

With a vote of 172-0, the chamber approved on third and final reading of HB 8909 last Monday. House Speaker and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was among the principal authors of the bill.

Section 13 of the proposed law 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.”

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. Arroyo, a deputy speaker at the time, voted against the controversial measure, which remains stagnant at the Senate.

On June 24, 2006, the death penalty was suspended through Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed by then-President Arroyo, a devout Catholic. /je

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