By Charmaine A. Tadalan, Reporter

THE REINSTITUTION of capital punishment for crimes involving illegal drugs and measures on local government concerns are among the priorities of four neophyte Senators for the incoming 18th Congress.

Senators-elect Ronald M. Dela Rosa and Christopher Lawrence T. Go on Tuesday bared plans to revive death penalty for heinous crimes.

May pre-ni-pare kami, sampo. Sampong initial na priority namin, basta pinakauna d’on, ‘yung akin ‘yung death penalty sa drug traffickers (We prepared 10 bills, which will be our initial priority. For me, the first will be death penalty against drug traffickers),” Mr. Dela Rosa, a former police chief, told reporters in a chance interview.

Mssrs. Dela Rosa and Go, alongside Senators-elect Francis N. Tolentino and Imee R. Marcos, all first-time senators, attended an orientation in the Senate in preparation for the 18th Congress that opens July 22.

Mr. Dela Rosa is optimistic the measure will have a chance of getting passed in the next Congress, considering the composition of the Senate.

“Most likely dahil marami tayo kakampi ngayon na tutulungan tayo. ‘Di naman gaano mabigat ‘yun dahil ang akin naman ay sa drug trafficking. Hindi naman lahat ng heinous crimes, limited lang ‘yun ang aking version (Most likely, since we have allies who will support us. My version is not too harsh because it’s only on drug traffickers),” he said.

He explained that he will not yet include plunderers in his bill to avoid the risk of losing support for the measure.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III filed a similar bill in the 17th Congress, which imposes death penalty only on crimes involving the illegal drug trade. He also said that death penalty will not be backed by senators if it includes other crimes, such as rape, and child trafficking.

Mr. Go, in a separate interview, likewise said he is also looking into the revival of capital punishment for “heinous crimes involving illegal drugs and corruption in the government.”

Mr. Go, formerly a close aide of the President, also said he will seek the postponement of the barangay elections to 2022 from 2020 to allow barangay officials to maximize their term.

The incoming senator added he will sponsor bills on long-term housing plans, salary hike for teachers and possibly other government workers, and the establishment of the Department of Overseas Filipino Workers, which Mr. Dela Rosa asked to co-author.

Mr. Tolentino, who expects to chair the committee on local government, said he will likely file bills on disaster management preparedness and local government concerns.

“(M)ore on disaster management preparedness and local government issues,” he said.

Ms. Marcos, for her part, said she will focus on her campaign promises, such as the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Bill, reduction of value-added tax, and bills on revenue sharing of local government units among others.

Marami ako pangako… so ‘yung mga barangay, SK (Sangguniang Kabataan) bills, ‘yung mga nilalakad ng aking kapwang governor tungkol sa IRA (Internal Revenue Allotment) namin, namomroblema kami sa sharing (I made a lot of promises… so barangay and SK bills, measures that are being pushed by other governors on IRA),” she said.