Palace: Death penalty up to Senate

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By Charmaine A. Tadalan

MALACA√ĎANG on Friday said the reimposition of capital punishment is up to the Senate, following the Vatican’s move to declare death penalty as “inadmissible.”

“I think the matter of the death penalty is in the hands of the senators now. So we leave it to the Senate whatever decision they may have. The President would still try gentle persuasion but it’s really a decision of the senators now,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said in a press briefing.

He added, nevertheless, that the death penalty on drug-related offenses and other heinous crimes, such as murder and rape, remains a priority of the Duterte administration.

The House of Representatives in March 2017 passed on third and final reading the measure imposing capital punishment. Said bill is now with the Senate. However, all Senate bills relating to the imposition of death penalty remain pending at the committee level.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, for his part, said he will find a common ground to push for the proposed measure.

“Let me think it over. I’ll try to find some kind of a compromise,” Mr. Sotto said in a phone message to reporters Friday. “But I have a formula ready if death penalty for high level drug traffickers is not possible.”

On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said, “There is no death penalty vote in the Senate. It will die if put to a vote today. Malacañang knows this. I do not think they will waste their political capital on the death penalty bill. Thus, the decision to leave to the senators the decision to approve or junk the measure.”

Senator Francis N. Pangilinan said Liberal Party senators “oppose the restoration of the death penalty. We do not see it as a deterrent to crime.”