LP senators in ‘no rush’ to pass death penalty bill in Senate

MANILA — Some senators belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) on Thursday said they are in “no rush” to pass the death penalty bill in the Senate, unlike the House of Representatives.

Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, one of the LP senators against the revival of death penalty, said the Senate will allow the proper legislative process to run its course on the proposal to restore the capital punishment.

“We will not allow it to be rushed. We must ensure that proper debate on the matter be conducted,” Aquino IV, newly designated Deputy Minority Leader, said.

He also urged senators must reveal their respective votes on the proposal to ensure accountability and transparency.

“We will not allow votes to be anonymous or hidden and we will ensure accountability among our colleagues,” Aquino added.

Aquino earlier assured that the new Minority will actively participate in debates once the proposal reaches the plenary.

LP senators cut ties with the majority bloc and transferred to the minority after being stripped of leadership positions and chairmanships.

The new Minority now has six members namely Senators Aquino, Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan.

Hontiveros, echoed Aquino, noting that the recent Senate reorganization has not reorganized the position of LP senators against death penalty.

Hontiveros belongs to the Akbayan Partylist but ran under the LP-led senatorial ticket last May 2016 elections.

She, meanwhile, expressed hope that her colleagues in the Senate can “cross party lines” to prevent the measure from being rushed.

LP acting president Sen. Francis Pangilinan was also firm against death penalty noting that it “does not work” and that it “victimizes the poor and powerless.”

On Wednesday night, the House approved on second reading the contentious measure restoring the death penalty.

It was passed via viva voce or through loud voices voting House Bill No. 4727, or an act imposing the death penalty on certain heinous crimes.

The bill seeks to repeal Republic Act 9346 that prohibits the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines. It also seeks to further amend the Revised Penal Code and the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

The House leadership is targeting to pass the bill on third and final reading on March 7, before the lower chamber goes into a congressional recess. PNA-northboundasia.com