PDEA supports lethal injection only for big-time drug lords
This handout photo taken and released on July 27, 2020 by the Philippines' Presidential Photo Division (PPD) shows Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) delivering his annual State of the Nation Address in congress in Manila.
Robinson NINAL / Philippines' Presidential Photographers Division (PPD) / AFP
PDEA supports lethal injection only for big-time drug lords
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - July 28, 2020 - 3:17pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed push for the re-imposition of death penalty by lethal injection but only for big-time drug traffickers.

In his fifth State of the Nation Address Tuesday, Duterte called on Congress—which is dominated by his allies—to reinstate death penalty by lethal injection for drug crimes.

PDEA Director General Wilkins Villanueva said the absence of death penalty enabled drug peddlers to continue their illegal activities even in detention.

“Execution by lethal injection is for big-time drug traffickers and not for the street-level pushers. I strongly suggest that seized drugs weighing one kilogram or more should be the threshold amount,” Villanueva said, noting that convicted high-profile inmates have found ways to give orders to people involved in the illegal drug trade.

The PDEA chief said drug protectors and coddlers who were found guilty of manufacturing, trafficking and pushing of illegal drugs should be covered by death penalty.

“Tougher penalties will send a clear message and force them to have second thoughts before smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs,” he said.

Instead of reinstating capital punishment, the Commission on Human Rights said the country needs to implement a comprehensive approach in addressing the drug menace, which is “anchored on restorative justice instead of merely imposing punishments without regard for human lives and human rights.”

Sotto: Isolating drug lords better than restoring death penalty

Similar to Villanueva, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he will support death penalty but only if it zeroes in on high-level drug traffickers. But he stressed that isolating big-time drug traffickers is a better option than reviving death penalty

Sotto filed a bill a bill seeking to establish regional penitentiaries where drug lords can be transferred from the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

“Remove them, the high-level drug traffickers, from national penitentiary and proceed with regional rehabilitation or penitentiaries and confine these guys in a separate establishment or penitentiary,” the Senate president said.

“It’s similar to death penalty because they are isolated and it will have the same effect,” he added.

Death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 1987. It was reintroduced six years later and then outlawed again in 2006.

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