Death penalty method? ‘Whatever is cheaper’ – Alvarez

Mara Cepeda

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Death penalty method? ‘Whatever is cheaper’ – Alvarez
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says there should be no debate on the methods of execution since they all mean the same thing – the death of the convict

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Tuesday, August 9, that he would support the “cheapest” method of execution if the death penalty is reimposed.

Alvarez was asked about Senator Manny Pacquiao’s preferrence for either death by hanging or firing squad, which the latter detailed in his privilege speech on the reimposition of the death penalty.

“Whatever is cheaper,” said Alvarez.

He added that the methods of execution should not be debated anymore because they mean the same thing – the death of the convict.

Alam mo, parehong death ‘yan. ‘Di na natin dapat pagtalunan ‘yan kung by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection. E parehong patay ‘yan e! Ano bang problema natin diyan? Bahala na ‘yung executive branch kung pano nila ie-execute ‘yung law,” he added.

(It’s death, just the same. We don’t need to argue if it’s death by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection. They will all die whatever method you adopt! What’s our problem here? It’s up to the executive branch how to execute the law.)

The  Speaker is a co-author of House Bill (HB) Number 1, which seeks to restore the death penalty for heinous crimes. (READ: Congressmen want 9-year-old kids charged for crimes)

If passed into law, HB 1 would amend the Revised Penal Code by indicating an execution method either through hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection. 

Pacquiao’s ‘funny’ joke

Alvarez also recalled the exchange between Pacquiao and Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III after the neophyte senator’s speech.

The two senators laughed after Pacquiao joked that kicking the convict’s chair in the death by hanging method would be cheaper.

Sabi nga ni Senator Pacquiao mas mura [kung] sisipain mo ang upuan e (Senator Pacquiao said it would be cheaper if you kick the chair)!” said Alvarez, who laughed after recalling Sotto’s interpellation of Pacquiao.


Alvarez and Pacquiao belong to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDPP-Laban), the party of President Rodrigo Duterte. The President supports the reimposition of the death penalty.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty under the 1987 Constitution, but it was reimposed during the administration of former president Fidel Ramos to address the rising crime rate.

During the term of then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Philippines signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Capital punishment was eventually abolished under her watch in 2006.

Human rights groups and some lawmakers have objected to the reimposition of capital punishment in the country, which is not a deterrent to crime. Amnesty International said it would be a “shame” for the Philippines to do so. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.