Cayetano: Death penalty tabled; Bayanihan 2, stimulus packages prioritized
MANILA, Philippines — For now, the House of Representatives would not prioritize the passage of the death penalty bills as it has more pressing issues to tackle, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Wednesday.
Cayetano said the House would instead prioritize tackling the proposed Bayanihan 2, the overhaul of the Local Government Code and economic stimulus packages.
“I promised that we will have full debates on everything but right now, Bayanihan is on our plate and number two we will prioritize also the overhaul of the Local Government Code,” he said.
“I will leave it up to the committee [on justice] to schedule it but hindi ko gustong matamaan right now ‘yung priorities ( I don’t want the priorities to be affected),” he added.
The House Committee on Justice on Wednesday began to work on bills for the revival of the death penalty for certain heinous crimes even as the country fights the coronavirus pandemic.
This is only less than two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte called for Congress to reinstate capital punishment via lethal injection for drug-related crimes.
Cayetano told opponents of the death penalty that the proposal would help the government “prevent crime,” adding that there would always be someone who would come forward to propose the revival of capital punishment as long as people continue to commit heinous crimes, such as rape.
“Help us prevent crime. Help us have the mentality of following the law because kung walang gumagawa ng karumaldumal na krimen, walang dahilan para sa death penalty (if no one would commit heinous crimes there is no point to legislate the death penalty measure),” he said.
This is not the first time the House pushed for the reinstatement of the death penalty under President Duterte’s administration.
In 2017, the House earlier approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to impose capital punishment on drug-related crimes. However, it did not progress in the Senate.
The Makabayan bloc lawmakers in the House had vowed that they will oppose any bill that will revive the death penalty in the country, dismissing such a measure as not a deterrent against crime. The group said it will only be used to further oppress Filipinos’ human rights.
The death penalty was abolished in 2006 under the administration of former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [ac]
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