House minority solons hit use of rope to hang death convicts as ‘illegal, torture’
MANILA, Philippines — Some members of the House minority bloc were quick to denounce a remark made by Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo that President Rodrigo Duterte prefers the “thrifty” method of executing death row convicts by hanging them using rope.
“Kung tatanungin mo siya (Duterte), walang gastos eh ano na lang, lubid,” Panelo said during a press briefing, Tuesday.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. on Wednesday reminded Panelo of Article III, Section 19 paragraph (1) of the 1987 Constitution which prohibits cruel and degrading punishments. The lawyer also cited Sec. 3(B) of Republic Act No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture law, which prohibits cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
“Ang paggamit ng lubid para sa death penalty can be tantamount to torture,” the party-list lawmaker said.
Just a joke?
Senior Deputy Minority leader and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin meanwhile said she hopes Panelo was just joking since that method is no longer being used.
“Better to discuss the parameters of the proposed law. Hindi makakatulong sa pagpasa ng batas ‘yung statement ni Sec. Panelo,” Garin said as she vowed not to allow the Anti-Torture Law to be amended.
“Let us not go back to stone age. Walang lugar ang ‘lubid’ sa death penalty,” she added.
Even Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. seems to be in disbelief with Panelo’s comment.
“Is he serious?” Abante said when asked about Panelo’s statement.
But Abante also said he has always supported the restoration of the death penalty that was repealed during his time in the 13th Congress.
“But only on certain heinous crimes like: massacre, terrorism, killing with rape, plunder,” Abante added.
During Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday, he urged Congress to pass a measure reimposing the capital punishment for heinous crimes and drug-related offenses, as well as for plunder.
On March 7, 2017, the House gave its nod to House Bill No. 4727 seeking to reimpose capital punishment for heinous drug-related offenses but it did not prosper in the Senate.
The death penalty was suspended through Republic Act No. 9346 which was signed in June 2006 by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. /muf
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