‘Given the chance’: Dela Rosa says he will ask Marcos to certify death penalty bill as urgent

Published July 7, 2022, 8:17 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

If given the chance, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said he will ask President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to certify the bill seeking the imposition of the death penalty for high-level drug traffickers as urgent.

Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa

“Given the chance, I will do it. Kung papansinin tayo (If we would be recognized),” dela Rosa said in an interview with reporters.

Dela Rosa, a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, has refiled the bill in the 19th Congress. During the 18th Congress, the various measures regarding death penalty in the Senate have failed to advance in the committee level.

To convince the President, Dela Rosa said he will tell the Chief Executive his personal experience at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

The drug lords themselves, the senator said, have recommended the death penalty as a way to stop drug trafficking in the country.

“Kasi kung hindi bibitayin, nakakulong lang sila sa loob ng Bilibid, nandun pa rin. Continue pa rin yung kanilang negosyo. Walang hinto. So kung binitay ‘yan, tapos na. hindi na makapagpapatuloy (because if they would not be meted the death penalty and they remain incarcerated inside Bilibid. They will continue to thrive. They will continue the business. Non-stop. But if you kill them, it’s over. They cannot continue),” he explained.

Dela Rosa, during his stint as the PNP chief, has been the chief implementor of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, which has been marked by a series of brutal killings.

The senator reiterated that Duterte was able to bring down the drug lords during the last six years of his term.

However, the lawmaker said he noted there were again huge shipments of illegal drugs in the country a few months before Duterte is about to step down as president.

Nevertheless, he said he is confident that the bill has a higher chance of passing this 19th Congress, especially since the Sen. Francis Tolentino is poised to chair the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Dela Rosa pointed out Tolentino is another advocate of the death penalty for high-level drug traffickers that is why he is confident the bill would be able to hurdle third and final reading and eventually pass into law.

Asked how he wants the death penalty to be carried out, the senator said he will go by whatever is approved by international standards which is through lethal injection.

“Kahit anong gawin mo basta makapatay, patay din ‘yan (Whatever it is, as long as it can kill). So kung ano ‘yung (whatever is) acceptable, universally, humanly acceptable standard,” he stressed.