Binay: Why push for death penalty while people are dying of COVID-19?
This undated photo shows Sen. Nancy Binay.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo, file

Binay: Why push for death penalty while people are dying of COVID-19?

( - July 30, 2020 - 2:57pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday questioned the timing of President Rodrigo Duterte's push to bring back the death penalty for drug-related crimes amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed almost 2,000 Filipinos.

Binay, in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source, said she is against reviving the capital punishment. “Unless we fix our justice system, the poor will suffer. They cannot afford the best lawyers,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino.

In his penultimate State of the Nation Address, Duterte renewed his call to revive the death penalty for drug-related crimes, a position he has maintained since even before assuming the presidency and that he also pitched in his 4th SONA.

“I reiterate the swift passage of a law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection from crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous [Drugs] Act of 2002,” Duterte said.

The president’s call was mostly met with a quiet crowd which prompted him to quip: “I did not hear so much clapping so I presume that they are not interested.”

Attendees to the SONA took this as their cue to clap.

Although Duterte allies at the Senate — Binay is a member of the Senate mahority — have shown their eagerness to legislate death as a punishment for crimes, the senator made it clear where she stands.

"Every day there are reports of 20 dying today, the next day 30, 40... We need to talk about how we can live and by discussing death penalty, do we need to talk about death again?” she said.

Binay said that at the moment, “we should focus on how we can survive and how we can help our countrymen live.”

The Department of Health on Wednesday reported 1,874 new COVID-19 infections, pushing the national tally of COVID-19 case to 85,486. Fatality count meanwhile is at 1,962.

The senator also said that she found Duterte’s fifth SONA “incomplete,” explaining that she expected the president to discuss solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic more.

“I wish he discussed how many PPEs are to be bought, what will be the goal of testing, what will be the policy for tracing, and in terms of treating, which he did not explain clearly during his SONA,” she added in a mix of English and Filipino. 

The Palace has said that the government's detailed plan to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic had been discussed in pre-SONA briefings. It had earlier teased that Duterte would announce the so-called 'recovery roadmap' in his State of the Nation Address. — Kristine Joy Patag

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