House majority: Only drug-related crimes in death penalty bill

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  • Lower House supermajority to put only drug-related offenses in death penalty bill
  • Rape, plunder, treason removed from list of crimes punishable by death
  • Solon said consensus reached to ensure speedy passage of bill

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the lower House’s supermajority agreed to limit the list of offenses punishable by capital punishment to only drug-related offenses.

According to Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, a consensus was reached to remove rape, plunder and treason in the death penalty bill.

“We agreed that the bill be limited to drug-related heinous crimes. We have removed treason, plunder and rape,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying. “It’s more on getting the consensus of the group. It became easier when we limited it to just one crime.”

Umali, who chairs the House justice committee, said the removal will ensure the speedy passage of the bill.

“We want a democratic process. We consulted members. At the end of the day, when we limited it to drug-related heinous crimes, the lawmakers who had misgivings felt better about the bill,” he said. “It will be a lot easier to present facts and figures reimposing death penalty for drug-related heinous crimes. The whole point is we get a headway in the reimposition of the death penalty.”

Under the bill, only importation, sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, transportation, and manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals, misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs and planting of evidence are punishable by death.

Possession of drugs, meanwhile, will  be punished with only life imprisonment.

The bill also gives judges the discretion whether to impose death or life imprisonment, with the option to choose hanging, firing squad or lethal injection if the former is meted out.

Capital punishment will also not be imposed on those below 18 years and above 70 years old at the time of the commission of the crime.