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Pacquiao wants death penalty by firing squad for drug traffickers

MANILA, Philippines – Evangelical Senator Manny Pacquiao believes that the reimposition of capital punishment will serve as a lesson to drug traffickers.

On his first day back to work, Pacquiao said that he wants them to be executed by a firing squad, if the proposed death penalty bill is passed. He is one of the 4 senators who introduced the measure in the 18th Congress.

"Kung droga, siguro firing squad para 'wag tularan. (If it's drugs, maybe [execution] by firing squad so it won't be done anymore)," Pacquiao told reporters.

President Rodrigo Duterte once again pushed for the passage of the death penalty bill in the 18th Congress during his 4th State of the Nation Address. But this time, he wanted plunder to be part of the crimes covered by the proposed measure.

While Pacquiao only proposed high-level drug trafficking as part of the crimes punishable, he said that he supports the wish of the President. For plunder convicts, he said he prefers either firing squad or lethal injection.

"Pwede naman. Magkakaron naman ng debate 'yan sa floor. Pwedeng isali 'yan. Pabor ako," Pacquiao said.

(It's possible. There will be debates on the floor about that. It can be included. I am in favor.)

Before, Pacquiao wanted death penalty by hanging "because it's cheaper."

Even as he's confident that the measure will gain ground in this Congress with more senators allied with the President, Pacquiao said that it would help if Duterte certifies the bill as urgent.

"Mas magandang hilingin natin sa Pangulo [na maging urgent]…Tingin ko baka lumusot na," the boxer-turned-senator said.

(I think it's better if we ask the President to certify it as urgent. I think it may be passed.)

Pacquiao also said he's willing to sponsor the bill, as Senator Richard Gordon, who is poised to head the Senate committee on justice, did not want to. Gordon said he is against the bill as head of the pro-life Philippine Red Cross.

The senator also reiterated that advocating for the measure does not run counter to his religious beliefs. (READ: Pacquiao defends death penalty: Even Jesus was sentenced to death)

Senators on Monday, July 22 said that there will be "heavy debates" on the highly "divisive" death penalty bill, especially now that the President wants plunder as part of the crimes covered.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that the proposed measure will be part of the bills that will be prioritized to be tackled.

The 17th Congress senators rejected the passage of the bill, while the House of Representatives passed it on 3rd and final reading. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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