MANILA—House leaders on Friday clarified that plunder remains in the list of crimes punishable by death under a proposed law reinstating capital punishment.
House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said the deletion of plunder in House Bill (HB) No. 4727, as embodied in committee report No. 47, came out during the leader’s caucus of the supermajority last Wednesday as part of the consensus building to push for the approval of the measure.
Fariñas explained that he, along with Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and other lawmakers, voted for the inclusion of plunder in the bill during the leader’s caucus.
However, he said they were outvoted by their colleagues who wanted to delete plunder among crimes punishable by death citing a special law which provides that plunder is punishable by life imprisonment.
“The Speaker and I, among others, voted to keep plunder in the bill, but a greater majority voted to delete it,” Fariñas said.
“But, nothing is final, yet, and the bill as it stands now still includes plunder. There has been no amendment to it, as we are still in the process of building a consensus,” the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) stalwart said.
Alvarez shared Fariñas’ position and stressed that he wants plunder to be retained among the crimes punishable by death in the proposed law that he submitted as principal sponsor.
“Halimbawa sasabihin ng mga minority, ‘sige isama natin ‘yan (plunder), wala tayong problema doon,” the House Speaker said.
The Davao City lawmaker likewise maintained that the proposed law will make capital punishment not mandatory on heinous crimes.
“This means that the proposal will be reclusion perpetua to death, depending on the ‘attendant circumstances’ and the appreciation of the judge handling the case whether to impose death as punishment,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez has earlier warned to replace his deputy speakers and other House leaders from their juicy committee posts should they vote to reject the passage of the measure, explaining that no less than President Rodrigo Duterte has been advocating the approval of the bill to arrest crimes and ensure better peace and order in the country.
Under the substitute bill, the crimes that will be slapped with death are treason, piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine water, qualified piracy, qualified bribery, parricide, murder, infanticide, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive, arson and plunder.
Also included are the importation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals; sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursor and essential chemicals; maintenance of a den, dive or resort where any dangerous drug is used or sold in any form; manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemical; possession of dangerous drugs; cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs or are sources thereof; unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs; criminal liability of a public officer or employee for misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/ paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment including the proceeds or properties obtained from the unlawful act committed; criminal liability for planting evidence and carnapping.
Republic Act (RA) No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law was abolished in 1986 during the term of the late former President Corazon Aquino.
It was restored by former President Fidel V. Ramos in 1993, and was suspended again in 2006 by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a Deputy Speaker and on her third and last term as Pampanga lawmaker.