‘Death penalty is best way to give justice to victims of heinous crimes’

MANILA — A senator on Wednesday reaffirmed his support for the capital punishment saying that it is the best way to give justice to victims of heinous crimes.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, an ally of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, said he wanted death penalty to be imposed only on offenses involving sexual exploitation of children, and offenses involving large quantities of illegal drugs.

“Bringing back the death penalty is the best way to send child rapists and drug lords on the one-way express to Hell,” Gatchalian said.

Gatchalian said he believes that child rapists and drug lords should “not be forgiven” as these crimes cause what he described as “irreparable damage” to the country.

“Criminals who wage war against the fundamental values of our society by polluting it with drugs and sexual violence against children cannot be rehabilitated, and they should not be forgiven. Child rapists and drug lords are beyond saving. They must be put to death,” he added.

Gatchalian pointed out that the Constitution bestowed upon Congress the power to reimpose the death penalty for compelling reasons to punish heinous crimes.

He stressed that the social impact of illegal drugs in the Philippines is “compelling enough” and urged his fellow lawmakers to take notice of the public clamor to revive the death penalty.

The neophyte senator claimed that credible private surveys have shown that four out of five Filipinos support the move to bring back capital punishment.

“As representatives of the People, we must give them the justice they demand,” Gatchalian said.

Despite his strong support for executing child rapists, pornographers, exploiters, and other sexual offenders, Gatchalian said he is open to Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III’s proposal to limit the reimposition of the death penalty to large scale drug offenses.

He said that limiting the scope of the new death penalty law to cover only offenses involving large quantities of illegal drugs might be the only “realistic” way to get the bill through the divided Senate.

“I will support the compromise if that’s the case,” he added.

On February 7, the Senate suspended hearings on the proposed reimposition of death penalty after concerns on possible violation by the Philippines of an international treaty was raised during the deliberations.

Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said that Philippines happens to be a signatory to the Treaty of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights of the United Nations Human Rights Office.

Sen. Pres. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon mentioned it was clear that death penalty could not be revived because of the treaty commitment.

To date, only four senators who have openly expressed being in favor of death penalty are Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson, and Manny Pacquiao.

Sotto, Gatchalian, Lacson and Pacquiao have all authored bills to revive the capital punishment.

Five senators belonging to the Liberal Party namely Senate Pres. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan have openly expressed being against death penalty.

Senators Richard Gordon, Grace Poe are also against the capital punishment.

Death penalty is one of the priority measures of the President Rodrigo Duterte. PNA-northboundasia.com