Pacquiao refutes pope on death penalty

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star
Pacquiao refutes pope on death penalty
The pope has decreed that the death penalty is inadmissible under all circumstances because it constitutes an attack on the dignity of human beings.
Pacquiao Office / Released

MANILA, Philippines — Pope Francis has come out against the death penalty under any circumstance, but Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is pushing for the revival of capital punishment in the country, claimed he has scripture to back him up on his advocacy.

The pope has decreed that the death penalty is inadmissible under all circumstances because it constitutes an attack on the dignity of human beings.

Pacquiao, who prides himself as someone who regularly reads the Bible, once again cited his argument that scripture allows the authority, in this case the government, to impose the death penalty on people who commit crimes.

And if the Bible is not enough to back up his argument, Pacquiao said the Constitution is also there to justify the re-imposition of the death penalty in the country.

“This is not about me or what I want but this is in the Bible and also in our Constitution, so there is no problem,” Pacquiao told radio station dwIZ.

Pacquiao previously filed three bills to revive the death penalty but he has agreed to limit the scope to heinous crimes.

The death penalty bills were previously taken up by the Senate committee on justice and human rights headed by Sen. Richard Gordon but the deliberations hit a snag after questions over its implication on the treaty obligations of the country were raised.

No other hearing was conducted after that due in large part to the hesitation of Gordon to take up the issue since he is against the revival of the death penalty himself.

As a compromise in order to allow the debates to continue, Pacquiao was tasked to handle the bill.

According to Pacquiao, one more hearing would be conducted before he would sponsor the bill in plenary.

Pacquiao said the bill should be debated in plenary so that his colleagues would be enlightened about faith and about government.

He said the proposal is to limit the imposition of death penalty on drug trafficking, rape with murder, kidnap for ransom and robbery with murder.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has proposed that the scope be limited to big-time drug trafficking only, which he felt would get more support from his colleagues.

Pacquiao said he has no problem with the suggestion of Sotto because illegal drugs are “the cause of all the troubles of the country.”

He said the deliberations would be fast tracked so that the measure could be approved by the end of the year.

Sotto said it would be good to have the bill reported out in plenary so that this could be debated.

He said the debates in plenary could also be used as a gauge for the support of the senators to the death penalty.

If the sentiment is overwhelmingly against the death penalty, then he said this would be shelved.

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