Death penalty not yet ‘dead’ in Senate

MANILA, May 11 — Despite being against the reimposition of death penalty, Sen. Francis Escudero on Thursday said that there is still a chance that a measure reviving it could still be passed.

“Hindi ako naniniwalang patay na sa senado (I don’t believe the death penalty is already ‘dead’ in the Senate,” Escudero said in a Kapihan press conference.

It may be recalled that Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier said that in his view, the death penalty was “dead” at least in the current 17th Congress. The Senate is set to convene its 18th Congress in July.

Drilon also said that there are at least 13 senators who will block the passage of death penalty bill including six members of the minority group and seven members of the majority block.

Members of the minority bloc include Drilon, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Also against death penalty are Senate Pres. Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Sen. Grace Poe. Not all senators have openly expressed their stand.

Meanwhile, at least five senators have openly expressed being for death penalty including Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Panfilo Lacson and Manny Pacquiao.

Escudero said that European Union (EU) ambassadors have raised the possibility of halting the preferential tariff rates of the Philippines if death penalty is restored.

He, however, expressed hope that they would change their minds as even if the death penalty is revived in the current administration, there’s no saying it will last until the next administration. Azer Parrocha/