Sotto: Most senators will OK death penalty for top drug traffickers
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said he was almost certain that the majority of senators would vote for the proposed death penalty if it would be implemented through lethal injection and imposed only on high-level drug traffickers.
“High level drug trafficking and lethal injection has a better chance of passing the Senate than all the other laws that were included in the old law reimposing the death penalty,” Sotto said during a forum at the Senate on Thursday.
“Kasi pag high-level drug trafficking, maraming sa mga issues na ginagamit nila pang counter sa death penalty ay wala, absent na,” he said. “Anti-poor, hindi. Never anti-poor ang death penalty for high-level drug trafficking dahil walang drug lord na mahirap.”
(“When it comes to high-level drug trafficking, many issues that they use to counter the death penalty vanish. It’s not anti-poor. The death penalty is never anti-poor for high-level drug trafficking because there are no drug lords who are poor.”)
Based on his last count, the 24 senators are still split on the death penalty bill — 10 are in favor, 10 are against it, while four are still weighing on the issue.
But even if the bill gets the majority votes, the Senate would not still be able to pass it before the first regular session of the 17th Congress adjourns on June 2.
The House of Representatives has already approved the measure, but it remains pending at the committee level in the Senate.
“Ah sa June? Mahirap. Mahabang debate yan,” Sotto said when asked if the Senate could pass the measure before the adjournment.
(“In June? That’s hard. It would call for a long debate.”)
“Even if we have the majority – as a matter of fact, we will get the majority – I believe we may get the majority after the debates,” he added.
He said the measure was a priority in the House, but not in the Senate.
“Sa amin (On our part), we promised them that we will debate on it and as much as possible pass it,” he said. “But we were not able to give a guarantee that we will pass it, by June ha,” Sotto said. /atm/rga
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