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House voting on death penalty bill moved up to Feb. 28 – Fariñas

No more quorum calls, says House leader, but Villarin, who opposes the bill says "Taking away life is not something to be rushed"
By: - Reporter / @NikkoDizonINQ
/ 06:24 PM February 20, 2017
Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas: Insistent. SENATE POOL

House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas — SENATE POOL PHOTO

MANILA — House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, Jr. on Monday said voting on the death penalty bill, a priority measure of President Duterte, would take place on February 28, a few days earlier than the initially agreed March 8 schedule.

This was one of the agreements reached at the nearly three-hour majority caucus meeting, where the lawmakers decided that those against the proposed measure would be allowed to continue with the plenary debates despite what Fariñas described was their “ill-logic” in maintaining quorum.

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Also discussed at the quorum were the crimes that would be meted capital punishment, Fariñas said.

“If they cannot maintain quorum (among lawmakers) to listen to them by Wednesday, there will be no more (debates), because what is the point in going for the debate? We will advance the voting to Feb. 28Tuesday. I give them until Tuesday to maintain quorum, to listen to them,” Fariñas said.

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Sought for comment, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said anti-death penalty lawmakers like him would “exhaust all parliamentary means to stall this seeming railroad.”

“We can’t do deadlines when passing this very important measure. Taking away life is not something to be taken lightly nor has to be rushed,” Villarin said.

Fariñas had called for the caucus after the anti-death penalty lawmakers earned his ire last week when they repeatedly sought a roll call to check if there was a quorum. He had threatened to cut short the debates.

Fariñas maintained his position that a quorum should be called only once a day. “So as long as you are transacting the same business you don’t have to call the quorum anymore,” he said.

Fariñas said that there was no “new business” being adopted on the floor during the interpellation being conducted by those opposed to the bill.

“While a member has the right to speak on the floor, he does not have the right to require that majority of all the members are there to listen to him because of his arguments, what he is saying is not interesting, the members would rather go somewhere else. Now, if that’s what they want… I will adopt their ill-logic, and when they are
discussing and there are no more numbers, I will be the one to ask to adjourn the session,” Fariñas said.

Fariñas said that lawmakers agreed during the caucus that drug-related offenses, plunder, and treason would be the three major offenses to be punished with the death penalty.

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He said that mere possession of illegal drugs has been removed from the initial eight drug-related offenses mentioned in the consolidated bill.  SFM

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