‘Supermajority’ OKs compromise to scrap mandatory use of death penalty

MANILA — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said the mandatory use of death penalty for heinous crimes will be eliminated from the death penalty bill.

In a press conference, Alvarez said this was agreed upon by members of the so-called “supermajority” coalition during a caucus on Wednesday afternoon.

Alvarez also disclosed that reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment will be added as another option of punishment.

“Ang napag-agreehan ay hindi siya mandatory death kundi reclusion perpetua to death. Ibig sabihin yung judge yung magsasabi kung kelan niya ipapataw yung death penalty,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez also reiterated that House leaders who will not support the administration’s priority measure will be plucked out from their posts — including deputy speakerships, chairmanships and vice-chairmanships.

Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who abolished death penalty in 2006 when she was President, has expressed opposition against the bill.

“We have to replace her (Arroyo) as deputy speaker… I already asked the majority leader (Rodolfo Fariñas) to talk to her,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez announced that he will insist on a party vote rather than a conscience vote on the death penalty bill.

Alvarez met with his party mates from the ruling party PDP-Laban to reiterate its party stand in favor of House Bill No. 4727. Members who will deviate from it might as well resign, he noted.

Under the proposed measure, death penalty will be imposed on more than 20 offenses including illegal drug trafficking, arson, treason, murder, rape, kidnapping, and carnapping.

The mode of capital punishment could either be through hanging, by firing squad or lethal injection.

The imposition of death penalty has been suspended since 2006 with the enactment of Republic Act No. 9346, or “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.”

However, President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly declared that he wanted capital punishment reimposed on heinous crimes, especially on criminals involved in drug-trafficking.

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