Death penalty bill up for final House approval next week
The House of Representatives is bent on passing the bill reimposing the death penalty next week.
In a text message Thursday, Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the committee on rules which he chairs will field House Bill 4727 to the plenary for third and final reading approval on Tuesday, March 7.
“We will vote on it on third and final reading on Tuesday, March 7,” Fariñas said.
The rules committee calendars the agenda on the floor. Once a bill is set for third and final reading, lawmakers may register a nominal vote where the lawmaker is allowed to explain his or her vote.
A bill on third reading may no longer be amended.
Fariñas took exception to vocal death penalty critic Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s statement that the lower house has been reduced to a “parliament of bullies and puppets.”
Lagman scored the supermajority for succumbing to pressures of the leadership thereby reducing the chamber into what he described as a chamber of puppets and bullies.
The bill was railroaded on second reading Wednesday after the supermajority shot down all the proposed individual amendments and ended the period of amendments, paving the way for the second reading approval.
The lawmakers present only registered their votes by ayes or nays, which means there is no record on how a representative voted.
Fariñas said it is the minority which bullied the majority to subvert the will of the people’s representatives.
“I will agree with them if they are referring to those who have been doing everything to frustrate the will of the majority. The House of Representatives exists to represent our people. The people want the death penalty reimposed as expressed thru their representatives in our caucuses and shown by them in our sessions, but a minor group against it has been bullying the majority from expressing its will,” Fariñas said.
Fariñas said Lagman and the rest of the anti-death penalty lawmakers would “bully” the majority members into listening to their arguments and proposed amendments which would only serve to defeat the purpose of the bill.
Lagman has proposed removing the penalties of death in the bill and imposing the maximum penalty of life sentence.
“It was high time for the majority to stand up to bullying tactics of a few members!” Fariñas said.
The death penalty bill has been amended to limit its coverage to drug-related offenses, in a bid to support the administration’s bloody narcotics crackdown that has claimed over 7,000 lives.
The bill as it has been amended excluded plunder, rape, and treason from the death sentence.
The bill will not impose a mandatory death sentence, giving the judge the leeway to impose life sentence or the maximum penalty of death on convicts.
The bill will punish with death or life imprisonment the following drug-related offenses:
- importation of dangerous drugs
- sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and maintenance of a den, dive or resort
- manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
- misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendeed dangerous drugs
- planting of evidence
Possession of drugs will only be penalized with life imprisonment.
The bill stated that the death penalty should not be imposed on children below 18 years old or senior citizens over 70 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime.
The penalty will be carried out by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection./rga
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