By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III today backed opposition to death penalty reimposition in the country, as he maintained that such a proposal may face rough sailing in the Senate if not limited to high-level drug trafficking.
“The rationale being used for the death penalty not being a deterrent [to crimes] and all that, throughout these years, I have researched and found out that they are correct,” Sotto said in a television interview today.
“That it’s anti-poor, and [it can be solved through] prosecution — putting them in jail, bulukin mo sa bilangguan is better (letting them rot in jail is better) — it’s correct,” he added.
Sotto, however, singled out in this reason the drug traffickers who, he said, continue to plague the country despite being detained.
“They’re already in jail and they can still operate. They can do everything they want because of money,” he said.
“There is no drug lord who is poor; they can avail of all the best lawyers if they want,” he also noted.
This way, Sotto added, the proposed reinstatement of capital punishment would have more chance in hurdlng the Upper Chamber.
“I’ll have to be very candid about it. In the Senate, the only way it can be passed if is we limit it to high-level drug trafficking,” he said.
“On high-level [drug] trafficking they have my vote, but other than that, I would probably not agree,” Sotto said.
Sotto, however, clarified that he will allow debates for the proposal in Senate.
Senators are not inclined to pass a measure reinstating death penalty even as their counterpart House of Representatives already approved on final reading its version of the bill in March.
Several bills on death penalty have been filed since 2016 in the Senate, including those for heinous crimes such as rape, kidnapping, and that of illegal drugs, but are still pending in committee level.