Death penalty bill on slow train in Senate – Angara
LEGAZPI CITY — Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara is anticipating a long period of debates over the Senate version of the death penalty bill.
The death penalty measure was passed in the House of Representatives Tuesday before Congress took a recess.
“I think the Senate version would take a long process of debates, unlike in the House, where the Speaker, and the Majority leader took it as a priority measure and wanted it passed before the House goes on recess,” Angara said.
Angara, in an interview on Thursday (Mar. 9), said the Senate has not marked the death penalty bill as a priority measure and the proposal had yet to be submitted to the Senate committee on justice chaired by Senator Richard Gordon.
Angara said, “the funny thing there, Senator Gordon is one of those lawmakers who are opposed to the renewal of the death penalty.”
With this kind of situation, Angara said he expected Gordon to pass the sponsorship measure to other senators supportive of the revival of the death penalty.
When asked to identify the pro-death penalty senators, he mentioned Senators Emmanuel Pacquiao, Panfilo Lacson and Jose Victor Ejercito.
Asked what would be the stand of the Senate while voting for or against the revival of the death penalty, Angara said “it could be 12-12 or 13-11 ratio, this will all depend on the outcome of the presentations and debates.”
At the Senate committee on justice, a series of debates would take place and resource persons would be invited to explain the nitty-gritty of the measure, he said.
When asked what vote would be expected from him, Angara was quick in saying, “I am still waiting and weighing my options. I would like to get the sentiments of the public and hear both sides for me to decide.”
Initially, the senators would deliberate on what other offenses or crimes aside from illegal drug offenses would be included in the measure, he said.
Like the bill passed by the House, offenses would be trimmed to avoid dragging of the bill through the legislative mill, he added.
The original House bill covers 20 offenses or crimes but the bill was eventually limited to only one set of major offenses: illegal drug trafficking.
Angara was the guest speaker at the Awarding Ceremonies of the Ten Outstanding Students of Bicol at the Bicol University College of Arts and Letters Amphitheater here.
Meanwhile, Bishop Joel Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi in a text message reacting to the death penalty bill passed by Congress said, “I am of course disappointed by the outcome of the votes; only one out of five voted No. It has been scientifically proven that the death penalty does not deter crime. Besides, justice must be restorative, not punitive. It is the humane and Christian way. With the Death Penalty, many will never have another chance. At the same time we don’t know the reason or motive of those who voted Yes. This could not have been achieved if the voting wasn’t done in such a hasty manner.” SFM
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