MANILA—Several lawmakers on Monday were at odds over President Rodrigo Duterte's fresh call to reinstate death penalty in the country.
Though she is against the imposition of capital punishment, Sen. Grace Poe said the bill may pass in the Senate.
"Sa Senate, may malaking pag-asa na lulusot do'n. Pero ang posisyon ko sa death penalty, ang mahihirap ang apektado," she said.
Majority of the senators in the 18th Congress are allied with the president.
Poe said she wants a review of the judicial system before reviving such bill.
"Siguro dapat ay tingnan natin muna ang sistema ng hudikatura: na maayos natin ang hudikatura at mabigyan ng tamang suweldo ang mga judges natin; maayos ang mga korte natin, mga investigator natin, mga prosecutor natin na magkaroon ng reform bago siguro natin masabi na magka-death penalty or else baka maging biktima lang ang mga inosente," she said.
Senate President Tito Sotto III said the death penalty bill will be subjected to a "heavy debate" in the upper chamber.
"We’ll try to convince some of our colleagues. It’s a heavy debate, but we’ll just have to work on it," he said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros opposed the measure, saying that "deterrent to crime is the criminal justice system."
"Ang deterrent ay 'yung kasiguraduhang mahuhuli ang suspected criminal, napo-prosecute siya at naco-convict," she said.
In the administration-controlled House of Representatives, some lawmakers welcome Duterte's push for the death penalty bill.
"I am in favor of imposing the death penalty on drug lords, syndicate bosses, and protectors," said Iligan City Rep. Frederick Siao.
"However, knowing the flaws of the law enforcement, prosecution, judicial, and penology-correctional pillars of our justice system, we also need better trained and better equipped law enforcers, a national crime laboratory system, special courts for handling drugs cases, and thorough cleansing and reform of our jails and correctional facilities," he added.
PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said he hopes the Senate will also push for the measure.
"Gusto niya ma-refile pero samahan na ng plunder. We're hoping the Senate will also consider the measure," he said.
The President also found an ally in Interior Secretary Eduardo Año for the restoration of death penalty.
"Siguro gayahin natin Indonesia and Malaysia. Sa kanila masyadong mababa ang threshold nila. Ten grams lang death penalty na," he said.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address, Duterte asked Congress to reinstate capital punishment for heinous crimes related to drugs and corruption.
“I respectfully request Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs as well as plunder,” he said.
The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006.—With reports from Ina Reformina and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News