Alvarez to anti-death penalty bill solons: Stop dilatory tactics, let debates unfold

MANILA — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has appealed to anti-death penalty lawmakers to avoid resorting to “dilatory tactics” and allow extensive debates on the contentious measure to proceed in the House of Representatives.

In a media interview, Alvarez said those opposed to the measure should be reasonable and observe the proper legislative process.

“Let’s not further delay the process. Let’s all be reasonable, we debate extensively, but at the end of the day, we need to vote. That’s the essence of democracy, it is always the majority that prevails,” Alvarez said.

On Tuesday, anti-death penalty solons succeeded in stalling the schedule of plenary debates on the measure with long-winding privilege speeches and quorum queries.

Alvarez earlier said such moves are expected, but he warned that the House leadership would tighten its grip if opposition still employ similar tactics every time the bill is debated on the floor.

The Speaker also denied claims that the passage of the measure is being railroaded.

“We’re not rushing this. In fact, if we look at the record of Congress, this bill was filed long ago during the first day of sessions. The bill just recently passed the committee level and has now reached the plenary,” he said.

Likewise, he said the so-called 30-day “deadline” for the plenary deliberations on the measure is not hard and fast and could be extended depending on the progress of the debates.

Alvarez, principal author of the death-penalty bill, said he would respect “the will of the majority” in voting for the measure.

“Now, if they are able to get the majority when it comes to voting, then congratulations. But if they are not able to get the majority, let us respect the will of the majority,” he said.

The restoration of the death penalty bill is one of the campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The House leader expressed confidence that this proposal reinstating capital punishment will be an effective deterrent to crime, particularly under the Duterte administration with its brand of political will.