Running mates Escudero, Poe disagree on death penalty issue
Vice presidential aspirant Francis “Chiz” Escudero maintained on Monday his position against the reimposition of the death penalty in the country despite presidential aspirant Grace Poe’s support for it.
“No,” Escudero, Poe’s running mate in the May 9 elections, said in a text message when asked if he would change his position now that Poe has made her stand clear on the issue.
“We have agreed to disagree on this and some other issues. Diversity of opinion is to be expected in a democratic and free society,” he added.
Escudero earlier expressed his strong opposition on the reimposition of the death penalty, saying law offenders deserve second chances.
But Poe, during the second presidential debate in Cebu on Sunday, raised her hand during the “Taas Kamay” segment of the debate when asked who among the candidates were in favor of bringing back capital punishment in the Philippines.
One of her rivals, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, also raised his hand.
The “Taas Kamay” segment of the debate only allowed candidates to raise their hands if they agree on the questions asked of them without any explanation.
But Duterte managed to say that his support for the death penalty was only for drug cases while Poe said she was for it only for heinous crimes and also drug cases.
Their other two rivals present during the debate, Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, did not raise their hands on the question.
Asked again how he would reconcile his position with that of Poe if they both get elected in May, Escudero said: “We don’t have to. We can always espouse different things.”
“We cannot be the same on every issue. I respect her stand as she does mine,” he further said.
Poe, in an interview after the debate, explained that the death penalty could not be immediately imposed, saying the justice system in the country must be fixed first and that the proposal has yet to go through Congress.
“Alam mo sa pag-iikot natin sa ating bayan, pinupulsuhan rin natin kung anong kailangan. Malinaw para sa akin na kailangan magkaroon muna tayo ng rehabilitasyon ng justice system natin. Hindi naman kaagad-agad,” she said, when asked about her stand on the issue.
“Unang-una, sa Kongreso daraan ‘yan. Pero sa tingin ko kung hindi pa rin maaawat ang kriminalidad sa ating bayan, at kailangan magkaroon ng mas istriktong paraan, para sa mga heinous crimes, sa mga drug pushers, at para doon sa mga paulit-ulit na gumagawa ng multiple crimes—doon lamang.”
“Pero inuulit ko, aayusin muna natin ang sistema ng hustisya para naman ang mahihirap ay hindi biktima dahil kulang ang kanilang representasyon. Dadagdagan natin ang budget ng Public Attorney’s Office at lalagyan natin ng magagaling na abogado para ang mahihirap kayang depensahan ang sarili,” Poe added. JE