Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan continued to stand his ground against a revival of the death penalty on heinous crimes.
Pangilinan categorically stated that this does not help ease hunger and employment during the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
He questioned Senator Ronald ‘’Bato’’ dela Rosa after the latter delivered yesterday a privilege speech asking congressional passage of his bill that sought revival of the death penalty for drug trafficking in the country.
In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the start of the second regular session of the 18th Congress, President Duterte sought the re-imposition of the death penalty.
Dela Rosa conceded that the country is currently facing the worst health and economic crisis since World War II, but insists drug problem is also a global pandemic.
In the same privilege speech, dela Rosa said that, as a former military officer, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and former Bureau of Correction (BuCor) head, he cannot and will never be at peace as he sees ‘’so much desolation, the sufferings of our countrymen’’ at the hands of drug-crazed individuals.
It was also during the debate that Pangilinan demanded Health Secretary Francisco Duque III’s removal, claiming the government official’s ‘’weak’’ response to the pandemic over the past four months.
‘’Duque’s continuing “mediocre” leadership has only worsened the COVID situation in the country,’’ he added.
Pangilinan has repeatedly said that an all-government response is needed to the unprecedented problem of COVID.
“Kung walang solusyon sa COVID, walang economic recovery, walang solusyon sa gutom at kahirapan,” Pangilinan said. (If there is no solution to COVID, no economic recovery, no solution to hunger and poverty.)
Citing corruption at the highest levels in government’s response to the pandemic, Pangilinan said Filipinos deserve better than overpriced test kits and equipment which are insufficient to address the pandemic.
As of July 29, the country has breached the 85,000 mark after 1,874 new cases of COVID-19 were reported.
In reaction to Duterte’s SONA on Monday, Pangilinan earlier said that COVID, hunger, unemployment, and lacking government response is the country’s real problem, and that the death penalty plays no role in responding to the worst health and economic crisis the country is facing.