Expect ‘very healthy debate’ on reimposition of death penalty in House – Cayetano

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

The public can expect a "very healthy debate" in the Lower Chamber on the proposal seeking to reimpose death penalty in the country.

Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN) House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano
(AP / Aaron Favila / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was assured by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano after President Duterte requested Congress to pass a measure seeking to reinstate death penalty for heinous drug-related crimes and plunder.

"Sa death penalty, I can promise sa ating mga kababayan, whether kayo ay pro or against na magkakaroon ng very healthy debate dito sa House of Representatives," he said in a media interview in Zamboanga City.

He said Congress' debates on death penalty should be "in the context of prevention, and deterrence of crime and not as an end by itself."

"Ang tutuunan nito ay isa lang, paano mapigilan ang krimen, lalo na ang heinous crime sa ating bansa. So doon sa gusto war against death penalty continue to pray, but also work hard for peace and order. Because ang Pangulo ay naniniwala sa death penalty, sapagkat tuloy-tuloy ang droga, at krimen although nababawasan na ng malaki. So ang death penalty ay pinaniniwalaan na deterrent sa crime, pero kung ang crime ay mababawasan o wala na, then baka maging moot 'yung debate sa death penalty," Cayetano said.

He said while the debates on the death penalty have yet to start in both chambers, he asked all sectors to help fight crimes.

"So while we are deciding as a nation, whether we reinstitute death penalty, let's all help each other na mabawasan ang crime," he said, citing that lower crime incidence rate might convince President Duterte to reconsider his request to Congress.

He noted that there are "simple solutions" that could lower the incidence of crimes in the country.

"For example – anywhere that is well-lighted has 30 percent less crime, basta mailawan lang ang bawat sulok. Kasi 'di ba kapag kriminal ka, nagtatago ka rin eh. The other one, CCTV, habang dumadami ang CCTV at alam ng criminal na may CCTV, nababawasan ang crime," Cayetano said.

"At pangatlo, pinakaimportante – drugs – more than 60 percent drug-related crime. So kung ma-eradicate natin, or ma-minimize natin to the bare minimum talaga ang drug use, and abuse sa ating bansa, 'yung crime rate bababa rin," he added.

Lawmakers earlier opposed Malacañang’s proposed death penalty by hanging, saying that it was inhumane, unjust, and primitive.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo had said President Duterte would prefer to implement the capital punishment in the country, using only rope because it is not costly.

President Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), asked Congress to reimpose death penalty for heinous drug-related crimes and plunder.

Death penalty measures have been filed both at the House of Representatives and Senate.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the passage of the controversial bill might be possible this 18th Congress.

But, he said he expects long debates on the proposal, even as he vowed to exhaust all means to ensure that the measure will get the nod of his colleagues.