MANILA—As party mate of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said that he has told himself to “toe the line” on his stand on death penalty even if he was initially against it.
“Let’s say I don’t like the party stand, but I’m outvoted. I toe the line. But we have not reached details yet. If we are to use the death penalty as a tool against criminality, we have to make it very limited to the most heinous of crimes as of the moment,” Pimentel told reporters in an interview.
“If it needed by the times, I am very open to do it. But, it must be very narrow,” he added.
Pimentel said that he would identify “drug-related” offenses as heinous crimes.
“…As of the moment, attention is being brought to the enormity of the drug situation in the Philippines. So, maybe it is drug-related. The most heinous crimes as of the moment,” the Senate President said.
He stressed that his initial stand against death penalty was not based on religion but on policy.
“I don’t have any problems because my initial resistance to the reimposition of the death penalty is not based on religion. It’s policy. You can change your mind about policies,” he further said.
Contrary to what Sen. Richard Gordon said that there were 10 senators in favor of reimposing death penalty, Pimentel said that he believed there were only eight.
“…There are eight clearly in favor, eight clearly against, and eight undeclared,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said that he falls under the “undeclared” category with several other senators.
To date, only four senators who have openly expressed being in favor of death penalty are Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, and Manny Pacquiao.
Sotto, Gatchalian, Lacson and Pacquiao have all authored bills to revive the capital punishment.
All five senators belonging to the Liberal Party namely Senate Pres. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan have openly expressed being against death penalty.
Senators Richard Gordon, Grace Poe were also against the capital punishment.
Death penalty is one of the priority measures of the President.