Pacquiao says death penalty revival ‘not illegal’ in the eyes of the Lord
MANILA, Philippines — In making a fresh push for the revival of capital punishment in the country, Senator Manny Pacquiao said the death penalty is not “illegal” in the eyes of the government and the Lord.
“Alam ko po na mahaba po ang eksplanasyon about sa reimposition ng death penalty. Maraming mga kontra, maraming pabor. Nahahati po yung mind ng tao,” Pacquiao said during Wednesday’s plenary session.
“Pero gusto ko lang po i-explain sa lahat na ang pag-reinstate death penalty sa bansa natin [ay] hindi po illegal, hindi po labag sa mata ng gobyerno, sa mata ng Panginoon dahil biblically, allowed po ang gobyerno, the authority which is established by God, to impose [death penalty], especially [on heinous crimes],” he added.
Pacquiao, a born-again Christian, manifested his support for the death penalty after fellow administration ally, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, delivered a privilege speech on the Senate floor calling on his colleagues to start deliberating on measures seeking the return of the capital punishment in the country.
This comes after President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call for Congress to pass a law that would reinstate the death penalty for crimes involving illegal drugs.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives gave its nod to House Bill No. 4727 seeking to reimpose capital punishment for heinous and drug-related offenses, but it did not prosper in the Senate.
Currently, several bills calling for the death penalty revival are pending at the Senate specifically at the committee level.
“Nakakalungkot na sa gitna ng pandemya, marami pa rin po ang mga mapagsamantala na drug manufacturers at traffickers, wala silang pinipili na lugar at panahon, pinagsamantalahan nila ang kahinaan ng ating mga kababayan,” Pacquiao continued.
“Marapat lamang na parusahan ang mga drug manufacturers and traffickers dahil ang kanilang nasa isip ay kung paano pa lalong magpayaman,” he added.
Pacquiao said he filed a bill in the 17th Congress during his first year as a senator imposing the death penalty on “certain heinous crimes which involve manufacturing and trafficking of dangerous drugs.”
“When we started the 18th Congress in July 2019, I filed Senate Bill No. 189 as one of my priority measures. I have always believed that the future of our nation is in danger due to the extent of drug use instigating heinous crimes. This, despite the country’s drug supply and demand reduction programs,” he added.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, Duterte’s closest ally in the Senate, also pledged his support to the reimposition of capital punishment in the country.
“In addition to the strengthened campaign of law enforcers to eradicate illegal drugs and criminality, reimposing the death penalty can be a strong deterrent for the commission of heinous crimes,” Go said.
“In effect, if we can stop crimes from happening, unfortunate encounters in police operations will also be avoided and lives of both police and the public can be protected,” he added.
But other senators have opposed the return of the death penalty without needed reforms in the country’s justice system.
“Without the needed reforms in our justice system, the innocent poor with scant resources to wage a decent defense in court will be the ones at risk in any attempt to revive the death penalty in the country,” Senator Grace Poe said in a previous statement.
Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, said it would not be easy to approve the revival of capital punishment since the Philippines is part of an international treaty, which bars signatory countries from imposing the death penalty.
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