MANILA, Philippines – Opposition senatorial bets reiterated their stance against the death penalty, with Mindanaoan candidate Samira Gutoc saying it shouldn’t be imposed even on terrorists.
“No to death penalty,” Gutoc answered when asked if “death penalty should be imposed on terrorists” during ABS-CBN’s “Harapan 2019” senatorial forum on Sunday, February 17.
Gutoc hails from Marawi City, which was ravaged in 2017 after a 5-month-long battle to flush out local armed groups whose leaders pledged allegiance to the international terrorist network Islamic State.
Because of the conflict in Marawi, the entire island of Mindanao remains under martial law.
Longtime human rights lawyer Chel Diokno was asked if he would favor the death penalty against a person who would rape or kill his child.
“Tutol na tutol po ako sa death penalty dahil anti-poor po ang death penalty (I am strongly against death penalty because it is anti-poor). It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty [of it] that stops crime,” Diokno said.
Diokno and Gutoc are part of the opposition Otso Diretso slate.
Physician Willie Ong, a candidate under Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, said he favors the return of death penalty “kung talaga sa heinous crimes (if it’s for heinous crimes).”
In past senatorial forums, administration bets said they favored the death penalty, especially for drug-related crimes.
Former police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and reelectionist Senator JV Ejercito voted “yes” when asked if they favored the death penalty for drug offenders during CNN Philippines’ senatorial forum last December.
Dela Rosa, Tolentino, and Ejercito are among the 11 candidates endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the same CNN forum, former senators Serge Osmeña and Juan Ponce Enrile said they are not in favor of the death penalty. Other opposition bets Gary Alejano and Bam Aquino also said they are not in favor.
The House of Representatives has passed the bill reimposing the death penalty, but the proposal faces a bleak future in the current Senate.
The House version of the bill seeks to reimpose the death penalty for drug-related crimes. – Rappler.com