Abante wants death penalty back amid ‘conspiracies in jails’
MANILA, Philippines —Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. of Manila’s 6th District is renewing his call for the return of the death in the wake of news of conspiracies being formed behind prison walls.
After the death of radio personality Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa, Abante said illegal dealings inside New Bilibid Prison (NBP) were uncovered. In a previous statement, confessed gunman Joel Escorial said that an inmate at NBP acted as a go-between in the killing of Lapid.
Escorial identified the middleman as a certain Crisanto Villamor. He was later identified as Cristito Palaña. Palaña died on the same day that Escorial was presented to the media.
“If a prison cell cannot stop a criminal from plotting and ordering the murder of another person, then the death penalty may be the only way to prevent the murder of innocent citizens and journalists like Percy Lapid,” Abante said on Wednesday.
“This jail cell conspiracy that led to the tragic death of an outspoken journalist is proof that incarceration is not enough to stop criminals from committing more crimes,” he added.
Lapid was gunned down outside a Las Piñas subdivision on October 3. Information later surfaced that linked jail inmates to the broadcaster’s murder.
Abante stressed that Lapid’s murder was not the first time crime to be planned inside a jail facility.
“While these may have been already addressed, the disturbing reality is that as long as there are jailed criminals who have the resources to bribe, coerce, or even threaten our corrections officers, they remain a danger to society,” he said.
“In cases such as these, death is the only punishment that can neutralize them,” he added.
In December 2020, Abante called for the return of the death penalty after then police officer Jonel Nuezca shot a mother and her son in Tarlac.
READ: Abante renews push for death penalty after killer cop shoots mother-son
The use of the death penalty in the country was disallowed by the 1987 Constitution unless for compelling reasons like heinous crimes.
It was successfully re-established by the administration of former President Fidel Ramos, and was implemented by his successor, former President Joseph Estrada.
The death penalty was stopped after former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9346 or an Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.
With the law, those convicted for crimes punishable by the death penalty are made instead sentenced to life imprisonment.
READ: What Went Before: Death Penalty Law
READ: IN THE KNOW: Death penalty
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in a previous interview that he is still undecided on the return of the death penalty. He said there are practical and moral concerns to be considered about it.
READ: Marcos on death penalty: Does society have the right to kill its own people?
With reports from Joshua Go, trainee
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