De Lima pushes for life imprisonment, hails Lacson’s withdrawal of death penalty bill

Published November 16, 2021, 9:44 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has welcomed Senator Panfilo Lacson’s move to withdraw the bill he filed which seeks to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes.

De Lima urged the Senate to instead give more push to the bill she filed which seeks to mete qualified reclusion perpetua to those who would be found guilty of heinous crimes.

“Wonderful that Sen. Ping has changed his position on death penalty. Indeed, it’s far worse to execute, and even just jail, an innocent human being,” De Lima said in a statement.

“I humbly ask the rest of my colleagues to reconsider their support for this unchristian and anti-poor measure and adopt a mindset of restorative justice,” she added in a separate statement.

“Let us all say no to death penalty which gives a mass murderer more license to kill, kill, kill!” the detained senator further said.

Lacson, last Nov. 8, requested the Senate secretary to recall Senate Bill No.27 or the proposed “Act Reinstituting the Death Penalty in the Philippines” from deliberations of the Senate Committees on Justice and Human Rights, and on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.

Lacson, who is running for president in the upcoming May 2022 elections with Sen. Vicente Sotto III, said they no longer support capital punishment, but prefer lifetime imprisonment instead.

Their stand was a far cry from their previous call having been staunch advocates of the reimposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes, especially for big-time drug trafficking.

De Lima, a staunch anti-death penalty advocate, reiterated that the death penalty is not the solution to deter people from committing crimes.

“Honest-to-goodness, corruption-free law enforcement and certainty of punishment are the real deterrents,” De Lima insisted.

“There have been documented and verified cases of wrongful convictions and wrongful executions even in jurisdictions with fairly advanced criminal justice system. With our country’s flawed justice system, executing an innocent person – an irreversible tragedy – is a real possibility,” she added.

She said the Senate should review the bill she filed imposing qualified reclusion perpetua on extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder, as well as other pending measures on prison reforms.

“As the efficacy and morality of the death penalty is questionable at best, there is a need to legislate an alternative punishment against extraordinary heinous crimes.

“As I’ve stressed in my Senate Bill No. 187, the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua and a fine of ₱5,000,000.00, will send a clear message that we do not take heinous crimes lightly nor do we condone those who perpetrate them,” she stressed.

If enacted into law, De Lima’s measure will impose the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua on persons found guilty of treason, piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

The measure, if passed into law, will also cover other extraordinary heinous crimes, she said.