‘Not yet the time’: PNP lukewarm to reviving death penalty

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2019 09:47 PM

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MANILA—The country is not prepared yet to see the death penalty reinstalled, the Philippine National Police said on Thursday.

Capital punishment is considered one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative priorities.

“Patungkol sa death penalty, ang pamunuan ng PNP ay may pananaw na hindi pa napapanahon dahil kailangan munang mapag-aralan ng husto at ma-set in place ano ’yung mga measures na hindi po maabuso,” PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac told reporters in a press conference at the national police headquarters in Camp Crame Thursday. 

(As far as the PNP leadership is concerned, this is not the time to reinstate the death penalty. It must first be thoroughly studied, and proper measures need to be in set place to prevent people abusing it.)

Banac, nevertheless, clarified that the PNP would welcome efforts to return capital punishment for drug crimes, as it is believed to reduce the number of such cases. 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said the revival of the death penalty for those convicted of high-level drug trade is possible with the incoming batch of senators, including former police chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa who is seen to lead the push. 

Nine of the 12 slots up for grabs in this year’s Senate race are expected to go to allies of Duterte, providing the administration an avenue to consolidate its power and push for its legislative priorities with little to no hurdle.

“That’s a possibility now because nadagdag nga ’yung pro-death penalty. Pero sino bumoto para sa kanila? ’Yung mga tao. ’Di ba alam nila kung sino ’yung pro-death penalty at hindi?” Sotto told reporters in a separate news conference. 

(That’s a possibility now because there are new senators who are pro-death penalty. But who voted for them? The people. They know who is pro and anti-death penalty right?)

In February, the House of Representatives withdrew its approval of a bill that imposes the death penalty for drug offenses.

A separate bill reviving the death penalty hurdled the House under former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez but has languished at the Senate.

The Philippines was the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty in 1987, but it was reinstated under President Fidel Ramos in response to increasing crime rates. It was abolished again under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006.