In TV forum, Senate bets vs death penalty outnumber supporters

MANILA, Philippines – Three senatorial bets for 2019, all allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, said in a televised forum on Sunday, December 2, that they support death penalty for people convicted of drug offenses.

Five other bets in the same forum opposed this proposal. 

Former police chief retired General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, former presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, and reelectionist Senator JV Ejercito voted "yes" when asked if they favor death penalty for drug offenders during CNN Philippines' senatorial forum on Sunday.

Dela Rosa and Tolentino with the ruling party PDP-Laban, while Ejercito is being endorsed by the party of presidential daughter Sara Duterte

Dela Rosa even said he will support a bill that imposes the death penalty on corruption cases. The death penalty bill that passed the lower house does not include plunder, only drug crimes. "Kaya ako, mag-file ako bill na death penalty para sa corrupt na mga pulitiko (I will file a death penalty bill for corrupt officials)," he said.

Dela Rosa received jeers from the crowd when he said "the President is kawawang-kawawa na talaga (is having a difficult time)."

"Ayaw 'nyo maniwala, makinig muna kayo sa atin (you don't want to believe me, listen first)," Dela Rosa said, citing Duterte's move to remove officials at the corruption-rocked Bureau of Customs.

When Dela Rosa mentioned favoring death penalty to the corrupt, he received another round of boos from the crowd, to which he responded: "Death penalty sa corurption dapat para mahinto once and for all..o ayaw na naman ninyo? (Death penalty for corruption to stop it once and for all. Why, you don't like that again?)"

Here is the list of how the forum's participants voted:

YES

NO

Osmeña and Enrile are independent candidates, while Alejano, Aquino, and Diokno are candidates of opposition Liberal Party.

The reimposition of the death penalty has passed the House of Representatives, but faces a bleak future at the current Senate. 

House committee on dangerous drugs chairperson Robert Ace Barbers recently urged senators to reconsider passing death penalty, citing problems of drug smuggling. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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