More administration lawmakers turn against death penalty

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 6, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  More lawmakers aligned with President Duterte have openly declared opposition to the administration’s plan to restore the death penalty.

Deputy Speaker Rolando Andaya Jr. is the latest House official to serve notice he is opposed to the measure, aside from former president and now Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who disclosed earlier she would abstain once the bill is put to a final vote. 

“There must be some companion measures. But while it is only the House talking about one possible solution to crime, it seems there is no urgency on the part of other institutions to map out reforms,” Andaya said. 

In a statement, the Camarines Sur representative said capital punishment for heinous crimes might not be a deterrent to crime after all, “without police, prosecution and prison reforms.” He tagged the country’s justice system as “undermanned, underfunded and underperforming.”

A large number of congressmen are allegedly against the Duterte government’s priority legislative measure, but have not openly declared their opposition to it, probably because they all belong to the super majority coalition, whose titular head is President Duterte.

The Nograles brothers – Karlo Alexei and Jericho Jonas of Davao City, both nephews of the President – are also against the revival of capital punishment. Karlo refused to confirm or deny this, but Jericho admitted to being a pro-life lawmaker.

“As proposed, the end is the lethal injection table.  But if it goes through a rotten system, beginning from the arrest, then the whole process may need overhauling,” Andaya, former budget secretary of Arroyo, said.

He said criminals would more likely be scared of certainty of arrest and conviction.

He said measures to reform the “police, prosecution and prison institutions must go hand in hand with congressional debates on the re-imposition of capital punishment.”

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