Death penalty bills remain with Gordon

Published August 2, 2020, 11:24 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Sen. Richard Gordon said Sunday he has no plans of relinquishing the various bills on death penalty to Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa despite his offer to chair a sub-committee panel that will focus on these measures.

Senator Richard Gordon

Gordon turned down the offer as he said the former Philippine National Police chief need to follow the rules and debate on the issue within the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights which he chairs.

“No. May rules tayo eh. Malinaw na ‘yung Committee on Justice hinahawakan natin (No. We have rules eh. And it’s clear that we are handling the Committee on Justice and Human Rights),” Gordon said.

“Kung sasabihin niya na bias ako dahil against the death penalty ako, eh mas lalo kong hindi ibibigay sa kanya dahil siya ang bias talaga, siya nagsabi niyan aggressively, na siya ay for the death penalty (If he will say I am biased because I am against the death penalty, then all the more will I refuse to give it to him because he is ultimately more bias than me, because he aggressively campaigned for the death penalty),” Gordon added.

“So you go to the rules and you debate within the committee. I can handle a committee hearing na hindi kumakampi (without being biased),” Gordon said.

Gordon said he hopes Dela Rosa should not misconstrue his position on the issue and say that he is reluctant on passing the death penalty measures.

“I’m calling him down now, huwag mo naman sabihin na dina-drag namin ang feet namin dito. Hindi ko ginagawa ‘yan. Dahil ako pag nag-imbestiga ako masusi (Don’t tell people we are dragging our feet here. I don’t do that. Because when I investigate, I probe thoroughly),” Gordon said.

Dela Rosa had earlier renewed his push for the death penalty following President Duterte’s call for its immediate passage during his last State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA).

He was able to get a seat in the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights after Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian gave up his membership in the committee to give Dela Rosa a chance to participate in the deliberations of the bills.

The Senate, in an all-member caucus, will tackle Dela Rosa’s inclusion in the committee and his suggestion to lead a sub-committee that will limit discussions on the revival of the death penalty Monday.

Gordon reiterated the Senate cannot just revive the death penalty issue because it is signatory to a treaty that the Philippines signed.

The Philippines is signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1976 which binds nations that signed to ensure that “every human being has the inherent right to life” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of life.”

Gordon reiterated that the treaty was ratified by the Senate.

“Pero curious ako, bakit natin pag-uusapan yan ngayon? (I’m curious, why do we have to talk about this now?) I mean, can you not disagree with the President? Hindi eto ang priority eh, ang priority nag hihirap ang tao, ang priority ayusin natin ang COVID (response), ang priority ayusin natin ‘yung stimulus package (This is not our priority, our priority is to address the needs of the people, fix our COVID-19 response, to fix our stimulus package).”