MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The House justice panel approved the measure seeking to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes in the Philippines on Wednesday, December 7.
House Bill (HB) Number 1 got the nod of the committee members with a vote of 12-6-1.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the measure may be brought back to the plenary session for second reading on December 13. (READ: A lethal mix: Death penalty and a ‘flawed, corrupt’ justice system)
If the bill is passed into law, the following heinous crimes would be punishable by death, either by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection:
- Qualified piracy
- Qualified bribery
- Kidnapping and serious illegal detention
- Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons
- Destructive arson
- 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 precursors and essential chemicals
- Maintenance of a drug den, dive, or resort
- Manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
- 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 concerning illegal drugs
Here is how the committee members voted:
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a bill co-author, is hoping that HB 1 would be passed on 3rd and final reading before Congress goes on Christmas break next week.
HB 1 is one of the priority bills of President Rodrigo Duterte, who counts more than 250 congressmen as his allies.
On Wednesday afternoon, the supermajority had a closed-door caucus to discuss which measures to prioritize before session ends for the year.
Fariñas said he posed questions to both lawmakers who are in favor and not in favor of the return of the death penalty.
“I asked them who are in favor, those who are in favor, of notion of the reimposition of the death penalty, [but] on the finer points [like] anong crimes ba covered niyan (which crimes are covered by that)? But [we only tackled] the reimposition of the death penalty – mas marami ‘yun (there are more). Those against and those who are undecided are lesser, but medyo pareho sila (they’re kind of similar),” he said.
The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty under the 1987 Constitution. President Fidel Ramos, however, revived the death penalty to address the rising crime rate under his administration.
Capital punishment was eventually abolished in 2006, under former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
While she supports Duterte, Arroyo said she is still against the reimposition of the death penalty. – Rappler.com
Editor’s Note: This story mistakenly listed Leyte 2nd District Representative Henry Ong as among the lawmakers who voted in favor of the death penalty bill. His name has since been replaced with the name of Northern Samar 2nd District Representative Edwin Ong, who gave his nod to the measure.