Death penalty bill reaches House plenary
The proposal to reimpose the death penalty reached the House of Representatives plenary under second reading on Wednesday.
House Bill 4727 seeking to impose the capital punishment on heinous crimes was sponsored on the floor by Deputy Speaker Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, an author of the bill.
The bill moved to the plenary for second reading and debates just a few months after it hurdled the committee level last December.
Why it is needed?
In his sponsorship speech, Castro said that the proposal to revive capital punishment is not against life, precisely because it protects the lives of the innocent.
“Ang panukalang batas, kung maisabatas, ay isang kalasag ng mamamayan at Estado laban sa krimen at mga kriminal, upang maidepensa o maipagtangol ang mamamayan sa mga karumaldumal, kakilakilabot at kasuklamsuklam na krimen,” Castro said.
(The proposed law, if passed, is a shield for the citizens and the state against crime, in order to protect the people from the horrendous, heinous and grisly crimes.)
“Ang panukalang batas ay hindi kalaban ng buhay; ang panukalang batas ay tagapagtangol ng buhay, buhay man ng inosente o salarin,” he added.
(This proposed law is not anti-life; it is a protector of life, whether that be of the innocent or the guilty.)
The bill restoring death penalty is seen as a priority legislation in the House of Representatives.
Who should be put to death?
The bill seeks to impose death penalty on more than 20 heinous offenses, such as rape with homicide, kidnapping for ransom and arson with death.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s staunch ally in the House, was among the authors of the bill for the death penalty revival after former president now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished capital punishment in 2006 for its failure to deter crime.
Alvarez filed the bill pursuant to President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign promise of returning capital punishment against heinous criminals.
Alvarez’s bill sought to mete out death as punishment for heinous crimes listed under Republic Act 7659, including murder, plunder, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, sale, use and possession of illegal drugs, carnapping (carjacking) with homicide, among others.
In the bill he co-authored with Castro, Alvarez said there is a need to reimpose the death penalty because “the national crime rate has grown to such alarming proportions requiring an all-out offensive against all forms of felonious acts.”
“Philippine society is left with no option but to deal with certain grievous offenders in a manner commensurate to the gravity, perversity, atrociousness and repugnance of their crimes,” according to the bill.
Duterte won the elections on a campaign promise to restore the death penalty by hanging, even making a snide remark that the convict’s head should be severed by hanging. Alvarez said Congress would look into the cheapest way for the death penalty, either by firing squad, lethal injection or by hanging./ac
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