Pro-Duterte senators tout passage of death penalty bill

Published July 29, 2020, 7:02 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

President Duterte’s allies in the Senate once again made a pitch for the passage of the measure imposing the death penalty by lethal injection for convicted drug traffickers.

Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa

Sen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, chair of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, reiterated the necessity of passing the measure restoring the capital punishment for crimes under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act or Republic Act No. 9165.

“As a former military officer, law enforcement officer and Bureau of Corrections chief, and now as a lawmaker, I cannot, and will never be, at peace as I continue to witness, with so much desolation, the sufferings of our countrymen and women in the hands of drug-crazed individuals,” Dela Rosa said in his privilege speech during the Senate’s session on Wednesday.

“The country has witnessed the horrors of increasing crime rates particularly those that involve drug trafficking,” the former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief lamented.

The ex-BuCor director general also lamented that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, notorious drug traffickers took advantage of the strict community quarantine protocols to continue their illicit trade.

Fortunately, he said anti-narcotic operatives were able to seize millions of pesos worth of illegal drugs and arrest these drug offenders in separate instances from March to May of this year.

“Were it not for the highly sensitive intelligence work of our PNP and the PDEA, and their close coordination with other law enforcement agencies, these voluminous drugs would have found their way to numerous drug crazed individuals, many of whom have derived an enormous amount of money by trading these illegal substances,” Dela Rosa said.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and in the middle of untold sufferings of our countrymen and women, these cruel and insensitive drug traffickers have continued their illegal trade among drug dealers and their salivating patrons,” he stressed.

Dela Rosa said that while he is aware of the country’s obligation to fulfill its commitment to international treaties, conventions, and other agreements, including protocols, he believes Congress can, at the very least, deliberate on the issue of having a death penalty in the country.

“Can we not objectively study the present crime scenarios, particularly those involving drug trafficking, its evil effects on our society and people? Is it not our corresponding constitutional duty as lawmakers to protect our people from the snares of criminality?” he pointed out.

“Granted, there will be those who will say that the death penalty has not been proven to be a deterrent to the commission of heinous crimes and drug trafficking, but in response I say: let us not close our doors to the possibility of discussion,” he stressed.

“Let us enrich statistical data with reasoned discourse in the proper fora, for the victims of heinous crimes and drug abuse are surely more than just data,” he further appealed.

Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go, in interpellating Dela Rosa, also reiterated his support to the President’s proposal of reviving the death penalty.

“I would like to echo Senator Bato Dela Rosa and express my support for the reimposition of death penalty for certain heinous crimes.

“In addition to the strengthened campaign of law enforcers to eradicate illegal drugs and criminality, reimposing the death penalty can be a strong deterrent for the commission of heinous crimes. In effect, if we can stop crimes from happening, unfortunate encounters in police operations will also be avoided and lives of both police and the public can be protected,” Go said.

Go added the proliferation of heinous crimes ignited the call for a tougher and more definitive stance against crimes that have plagued the security and development of the nation.

“Illegal and dangerous drugs have been a recurring cause of suffering for families and individuals in the country, and that there is no question that this societal problem can destroy the basic institution of the family,” he pointed out.

“As President Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address, this measure will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs,” Go reiterated.