MANILA –Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Monday said the House of Representatives may still introduce other heinous crimes punishable by death through a piecemeal approach in subsequent bills.
In an ambush interview, Alvarez said the result of several majority caucuses led to limiting the imposition of death penalty to just drug-related offenses in a bid to bolster the enactment of the death penalty bill into law.
The new version of the bill delists the crimes of plunder, rape, and treason from its coverage.
“Iyon yung napagkasunduan sa majority caucus. Isa-isa na lang naming ipasa kasi para meron naman tayong natapos. Dahil ‘pag sabay-sabay, baka humaba pa yung mga debate. So isa-isa muna para matapos tayo dun sa illegal drugs. Sunod naman natin yung iba,” Alvarez said.
(“That was the agreement in our majority caucus. We will pass it one-by-one so that we could eventually accomplish something. Because if we pass (everything) all at once, it could prolong the debates. So we will tackle it individually and finish with ‘the crimes related to’ illegal drugs. After that, we will move on to other crimes.”)
The piecemeal attempt to add other heinous crimes later on will also accelerate the legislative process and produce more outputs, Alvarez noted.
The lower chamber is expected to approve on third and final reading the death penalty bill, or House Bill 4727 on Tuesday. Alvarez is one of the principal authors of the bill.
Under the substitute bill, the mode of capital punishment could either be through hanging, by firing squad or lethal injection.
The bill said the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from PHP500,000 to PHP10 million shall be imposed upon any person involved in any of the following drug-related offenses:
– 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;
– 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.
The measure also requires the Public Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Solicitor General to create a special panel composed of senior lawyers to handle the automatic review or appealed cases of the death penalty.
The bill said another amendment requires the public prosecutor to furnish copies of case information to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and other religious and civic organizations.
Capital punishment was last suspended in 2006 by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
President Rodrigo Duterte, however, has called for the passage of the measure to stop the proliferation of drugs and criminality.