Party-lists OK with federalism, balk at death penalty
Some nominees of winning party-list groups have expressed an openness to presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to shift to a federal form of government, but were divided on his proposal to reimpose the death penalty.
Buhay party-list second nominee Lito Atienza said he personally would support a shift to federalism.
“That’s the way the Philippines should go. What is happening now is that development is only focused on Metro Manila; everything emanates from Manila, including planning, which is not good. There should be stronger local economy in the regions and the provinces, that’s the only way to develop the islands. Remember, we are an archipelago,” Atienza said.
Lawyer Harry Roque of Kabayan party-list, Lucas Pasiliao and Remedios Arquiza of Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines, and lawyer Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera of Ang Mata’y Alagaan, all expressed a willingness to study federalism.
Hesitant to shift
On the other hand, Gabriela Women’s Party first nominee Emerenciana de Jesus expressed reservations about the shift to a federal form of government.
“If the national government is OK, I think the 100 million population is still manageable. At this point I want first to challenge the improvement of the national management, then let’s review. Maybe I’ll be open to it in future,” said De Jesus.
Atienza, De Jesus and Roque all expressed opposition to a reimposition of the death penalty.
“I’m sorry we cannot go with him (Duterte), we disagree with him. It’s not the solution as we have repeatedly said. We have to initiate reforms in the justice system and get rid of corruption,” said Atienza.
“If we have death penalty but the law enforcers can be bribed, it’s useless. Only the poor will suffer the punishment. That’s why we’re appealing to the [presumptive] president-elect, he should give it a second thought. Let’s not go on a divided direction at the outset. We want to support him and his many reform measures but definitely not on death penalty,” he said.
“We’re really against the death penalty. As long as we have a poor and weak justice system, it will not work. And I think the longer for a criminal to stay in detention, the better,” said De Jesus.
“I’m absolutely against the death penalty. We need to improve law enforcement to deter crimes as studies show that the death penalty is not a deterrent,” said Roque.
The Senior Citizen nominees, on the other hand, were very much in favor of the death penalty.
“The death penalty should be imposed again, especially on suspects who victimize senior citizens. They should kill those bad elements,” said Arquiza.
The Comelec-NBOC on Thursday announced the winners of the 59 seats at stake in the House of Representatives in the party-list balloting. The 59 seats were distributed among 46 party-list groups.
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