File photo shows Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File
Drilon calls blocking revival of death penalty a 'tough' battle but vows to stop its passage
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - July 5, 2019 - 6:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon admitted that the fight against the revival of death penalty would be an “uphill battle” as there are more senators openly endorsing the proposal.

But Drilon, a former justice secretary, vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to block the reimposition of capital punishment in the country.

“We strongly and unequivocally oppose the reimposition of death penalty. We are prepared to fight it all the way,” Drilon said in a release Friday.

At least four senators filed bill pushing to bring back death penalty: Sens. Ronald Dela Rosa, Christopher Go, Manny Pacquiao and Panfilo Lacson. Dela Rosa, Go and Pacquiao are close allies of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Those who expressed support for the proposal included Sens. Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, Aquilino Pimentel III, Juan Edgardo Angara, Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino and Lito Lapid.

“It will be a tough fight considering that it is an administration-backed legislation and a number of senators have openly endorsed its passage. Let alone our diminished number in the Senate,” Drilon said.

The landslide victory of Duterte’s allies in the May midterm polls is seen to open path for the chief executive to make good of his most contentious plans, which include reviving the death penalty and rewriting the Constitution.

Aside from Drilon, other members of the minority such as Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima, also expressed opposition to the bill.

“Notwithstanding these difficulties we will do our best to prevent it. We will never allow the 18th Congress to give license to authorities to kill the poor,” the opposition lawmaker said.

‘Not effective’

Drilon stressed that the poor will become victims of what he called “cruel and inhumane” punishment.

“It has been proven time and time again that capital punishment is not an effective deterrent to crimes. Only the poor will be made victims of this measure,” he said.

The opposition lawmaker added: “No justice will be served if it involves taking a life. Let’s be more rational, humane, independent and conscientious in handling this very sensitive issue.”

He also noted that the Philippines signed and ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which mandates the abolition of capital punishment.

“Unless this issue is resolved, we cannot have a complete debate, because we will be back to the same question: Can the Philippines reimpose death penalty without any regard to our treaty obligation?” Drilon said.

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