Lawmakers differ on death penalty issue

November 28, 2009 2:51 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Nov. 27 — As outrage over the Maguindanao massacre that claimed at least 57 lives continue to pour, many are clamoring for the revival of the death penalty.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said the proposal to reinstate the capital punishment "should have collective consensus here."

"Let's debate on it," he said.

Nograles said that each province is unique and governed differently by local leaders.

"The problem there is not a problem everywhere. Like Davao City, it also has Death Squads which can't be found in other cities," he said.

Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, chairman of the oversight committee of the House of Representatives, said he is against the revival of the death penalty law.

"I have always been against the death penalty," he said.

On the other hand, Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. said he is in favor of the revival of the death penalty for heinous crimes.

"Mas mapapangalagaan ang buhay ng mga Pilipino kung ibabalik ang death penalty (The Filipinos' lives would be safer if we restore the death penalty)," he said in a radio interview.

"Siguradong matatakot ang mga gagawa ng krimeng pagpatay dahil buhay din ang kabayaran (Definitely, many would be afraid to kill because they will also be punished with their lives)," he added.

Abante said he will file a bill at the House of Representatives for the revival of the capital punishment as Congress resumes session on December 8.

Former Defense Secretary Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr., Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christian, Muslim, Democrats) national chairman and the party's standard bearer in the May 2010 elections, said innocent people are likely the ones who would suffer from such punishment due to the country’s poor justice system.

"I’m not for the death penalty. Maraming innocent na pwedeng bitayin, maniwala kayo. Kung pwede lang patawan, patawan (We could hang many innocents, believe me. We could impose death, why not), but not in the justice system we have," he said.

The death penalty law was passed in 1992 but was abolished 14 years later in 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo right before she flew to Vatican City for an audience with the Pope. (PNA)



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