After Duterte push, House tackles death penalty bills amid pandemic
MANILA, Philippines — Following the call of President Rodrigo Duterte, the House Committee on Justice on Wednesday began tackling bills pushing for the revival of the death penalty for some heinous crimes even as the country struggles against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The House panel started debates on 12 bills on the highly controversial measure less than two weeks after Duterte once again asked Congress to reimpose capital punishment through lethal injection for drug-related crimes in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier vowed “thorough” discussions on legislation mentioned by the President in his SONA, including highly controversial measures such as the death penalty.
This is not the first time that the House has pushed for the reinstatement of the death penalty under President Duterte’s administration.
In 2017, the House approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to impose capital punishment on drug-related crimes, however, it did not make progress in the Senate.
Makabayan bloc lawmakers in the House have vowed that they will oppose any bill that will revive the death penalty in the country, maintaining that such a measure is not a crime deterrent but will only be used to further oppress the human rights of Filipinos.
Presently, the country is trying to contain the coronavirus pandemic, which has so far claimed the lives of 2,115 people and infected 112,593.
The death penalty was abolished in 2006 under the administration of former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.