President Rodrigo Duterte will likely certify as urgent bills which seek to reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes, illegal drugs and plunder.
“Given that he mentioned it in his State of the Nation Address, most likely [he will certify the bills as urgent],” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
“If you will ask him, death by hanging is cheaper. But I think, lethal injection [is most likely],” he said.
The House of Representatives sought to reimpose capital punishment in 2017 but the measure was rejected by the Senate.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the Upper Chamber could narrowly pass the death penalty bill in a “squeaker” vote.
In a radio interview, Sotto said at least 13 senators may support the proposed restoration of the death penalty for high-level drug trafficking and plunder.
“I think it could be a squeaker but it’s still possible. Probably, with around 13 to 14 [senators], it can be done if it only covers high-level drug trafficking,” he said.
“If we were to include plunder-—and it would not be good for us to reject such proposal—it could also be a squeaker. With around 13-14 [votes], it could be passed in the Senate,” Sotto added.
Senator Ramon Revilla Jr., who was earlier cleared of plunder charges over the pork barrel scam, expressed his support for the re-imposition of death penalty on cases involving plunder and illegal drugs.
“I personally support the President’s call to reinstate capital punishment for offenses related to drugs and plunder,” Revilla said in a statement.
“I may just add that there should also be death for those who falsely and maliciously accuse others of these offenses,” he added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said it may appear as an uphill battle, but senators belonging to the minority are more than prepared to oppose the revival of capital punishment.
“We do not agree that death penalty is the solution to our illegal drugs and corruption problems. Death penalty is anti-poor,” Drilon said.
“We have a very weak justice system that is very prone to error. What we need to do is to strengthen our justice system and show the people that our laws are working,” added the former Justice chief.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the death penalty may be an effective deterrent against the commission of serious or heinous crimes in the country.