House Minority Leader Abante backs return of death penalty
MANILA, Philippines – House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr is supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed call to reimpose the death penalty in the Philippines.
The Manila 6th District Representative said on Wednesday, July 24, that he been supportive of capital punishment since his first stint as a lawmaker in the 13th Congress.
Abante, however, said he wants the death penalty reimposed only for certain heinous crimes, including plunder.
“I have always supported the reimposition of the death penalty that was repealed during my time in the 13th Congress, but only on certain heinous crimes like massacre, terrorism, killing with rape, plunder,” he said.
Abante said the minority bloc under his leadership will have a "critical collaboration" with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006 when former speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was still president.
But her ally Duterte has once again pushed for the passage of the bill that would reimpose the capital punishment for drug-related crimes and plunder during his 4th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 22.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives passed the death penalty bill, but only for drug convicts. The Senate did not pass the measure.
In the current 18th Congress, the death penalty bill is expected to gain strong support in the House dominated by Duterte allies. Newly elected Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has vowed to prioritize the President’s legislative agenda.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, said that the death penalty bill would be among the first measures to be debated by senators. Sotto said, however, that limiting the reimposition of capital punishment to high-level drug traffickers stood a better chance of passage in the Senate than other versions. – Rappler.com