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House may consider Duterte call to revive capital punishment

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THE House of Representatives on Tuesday said it would consider President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s renewed call to revive the death penalty for heinous crimes, including drug trafficking.

“The death penalty measures will be deliberated on thoroughly,” Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said in a statement.

Mr. Duterte in his penultimate yearly address to Congress on Monday sought the revival of the death penalty as part of his deadly war on drugs.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said the President’s call gives the measure “better chances” of getting approved by the chamber. He said his colleagues might be convinced if the death penalty is limited to drug-related crimes.

Debates will only proceed once a consensus is reached, he said. “It might be useless if we keep debating it and then we end up without the numbers,” he said at an online briefing on Tuesday.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers, who heads the House committee on dangerous drugs, urged both houses to “pass with dispatch” bills reviving the death penalty.

“Reimposing the death penalty now on drug-related offenses will surely stop the criminals on their tracks and deter them from further plying their trade,” he said in a statement.

At least 13 bills on the death penalty are pending at the House justice committee, while 10 measures are pending at the counterpart Senate panel.

Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan said the death penalty would not solve the more pressing problem posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The death penalty is pointless in responding to the greatest health and economic crisis faced by our nation,” he said in a statement in Filipino, adding that he said he would continue to oppose moves seeking to restore it. — Charmaine A. Tadalan





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