Bato dela Rosa sees death penalty bill OK with Tolentino helming Senate justice panel

File photo of a Lethal Injection Chamber at New Bilibid Prison and a bed with 14 straps used to hold down death row prisoners. Senator Bato dela Rosa is confident the death penalty bill will be passed.

Bed with thick straps used to hold down a death row prisoner inside the Lethal Injection Chamber in New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City. | INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa is not giving up on his initiative to revive capital punishment in the country by filing a new bill targeting large-scale illegal drug traffickers.

Dela Rosa expressed high hopes that his new bill, which he filed Tuesday, would finally get the approval of Congress, especially with Sen. Francis Tolentino becoming the next chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

“Yes, because the incoming chairman is Sen. Tolentino, who is not anti-death penalty,” he said in a text message on Wednesday when asked if he thought the measure now has better chances of getting the congressional nod.

Tolentino’s chairmanship of the committee, which would handle the death penalty bill, was further confirmed by Senate President Pro Tempore Juan Miguel Zubiri, who is set to become Senate president.

The justice committee was previously headed by former Senator Richard Gordon, who has been vocal against capital punishment.

Dela Rosa first sought the reinstatement of the death penalty by filing a similar measure in 2019. His fresh bid for reimposing the death penalty was among his top 20 priority measures filed Tuesday in the 19th Congress.

Below is the complete list of his 20 priority measures released to the media on Tuesday:

1. Death Penalty for Large-scale Illegal Drug Trafficking
2. ROTC Act of 2022
3. ELCAC Act
4. Amendment to Party-list System Act
5. Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation
6. Anti-Drug Abuse Council Law
7. Philippine National Police Revitalization and Capability Enhancement Act
8. Repeal of Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016
9. Filipino Farmer Financial Assistance Program Act
10. Special Defense Economic Zone Act of 2022
11. Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act
12. TODA Act
13. Rank Classification of BFP and BJMP
14. Distance Incentive Allowance for Public School Teachers Act
15. Private Health Workers Incentives and Benefits Act
16. Barangay Health Workers Act
17. Security of Tenure for Casual and Contractual Government Employee
18. Law Enforcement Body-worn Camera Act
19. CCTV Act of 2022
20. Disaster Resilience Act of 2022