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House Bill No. 1: Restore the death penalty

Prospective speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants the death penalty reimposed through lethal injection. Youtube

MANILA, Philippines – Prospective speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wants the death penalty reimposed through lethal injection, not by hanging as President Duterte had proposed.

He and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro authored House Bill 01 which provides for lethal injection as the mode of state-sanctioned killing for heinous crimes.

The bill seeks to reimpose capital punishment for human trafficking, illegal recruitment, plunder, treason, parricide, infanticide, rape, qualified piracy, bribery, kidnapping, illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, car theft, destructive arson, terrorism and drug-related cases.

A portion of the bill reads: “There is evidently a need to reinvigorate the war against criminality by reviving a proven deterrent coupled by its consistent, persistent and determined implementation, and this need is as compelling and critical as any. 

“The imposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes and the mode of its implementation, both subjects of repealed laws, are crucial components of an effective dispensation of both reformative and retributive justice.” 

Alvarez and Castro said the national crime rate has grown to an “alarming proportion” that it requires an “all-out offensive against all forms of felonious acts.”

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“Our criminal justice system has been emasculated in no small measure by the non-deterrent nature of impossible penalties on the most depraved violations of human life, honor and dignity,” they said.

“The basic tenets of equity and justice demand that our penal system be one not only of reformation but corresponding retribution.”

Sen. Manny Pacquiao has also filed bills seeking to reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes involving illegal drugs, kidnapping and aggravated rape.

In a statement, Pacquiao said he had intentionally filed separate bills as he wants the matter to be given greater and immediate consideration.

“Death penalty, to me, is a just retribution for a crime committed by a certain person,” he said.

“You commit a crime – you must pay for it. But the punishment must be commensurate to the crime committed.” Pacquiao said the death penalty has legal and biblical basis.

However, he did not say how the death penalty should be carried out, but he earlier told reporters that he prefers hanging as a means of execution.

Pacquiao, a devout Christian, on Monday said he does not consider hanging to be barbaric, and that execution by lethal injection could pose problems as doctors have vows not to kill.

“If you will cover hangings, you’ll pity them but they (death convicts) know that the law is the law,” he said.

“Even us in government service, or the President, if we do wrong, are punishable under the law.” 

On the other hand, Sen. Leila de Lima continues to oppose the death penalty.
She will file a bill seeking to impose “qualified reclusion perpetua” for those found guilty of heinous crimes.

Those punished with “qualified reclusion perpetua” would not be eligible for parole at all, she added.

The Ramos and Estrada administrations had imposed the death penalty, but the Arroyo administration abolished it in 2006. Seven convicts were executed during the shortened Estrada administration, for crimes ranging from rape to robbery with murder.

Meanwhile, Alvarez and Castro want minors aged nine to be held criminally liable as originally provided in the Revised Penal Code. 

They filed a bill seeking to return to the age of nine the minimum age of criminal responsibility from the current 15 years as provided under Republic Act 9344.

“While the intent of the law may be highly laudable, it has had the opposite effect of pampering youthful offenders who commit crimes, knowing they can get away with it,” they said.

“Adult criminals knowingly and purposely make use of youths below 15 years of age to commit crimes, such as drug trafficking, aware that they cannot be held criminally liable.”

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