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Minority solons warn Speaker Alvarez vs. imposing ‘party vote’ on death penalty

By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO,GMA News

Minority lawmakers on Wednesday warned Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez against imposing a party vote for the death penalty bill.

This was after Alvarez disclosed he was meeting with members of the PDP-Laban to reiterate that voting in favor of House Bill No. 4727 is the “party stand.”

He also said House leaders who are against the measure will be replaced.

“It’s a sad day for Congress if he is twisting the arms of the majority. It’s a very serious mistake to do that,” Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said in a press conference with the minority bloc.

Atienza, who opposes the measure, said this may even lead to Alvarez’s ouster as speaker.

“The issue of death penalty is a matter of principle, whether you value life or something else. ‘Pag pinilit mo ‘yan, magkakaroon ng long-range impact ‘yan… I think he forgets that when he entered Congress he was alone, he was the only [member of] PDP-Laban,” he added.

For his part, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque said the bill, if passed, may be “struck down as unconstitutional” because the Philippines is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

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Roque, who is also against the measure, said the Supreme Court has already ruled that per the Constitution, all international treaties entered into by the government must be complied with as part of the law of the land.

Minority leader Danilo Suarez maintained that his colleagues in the bloc are free to decide for themselves on the matter.

Suarez, a co-author of the measure, said, “Wala kaming party position, conscience vote ito.”

The bill has been sponsored by House justice committee leaders at the plenary. Discussions are expected to continue Wednesday.

Opposition solons said there are 50 lawmakers in line to interpellate against the measure, including members of the supermajority. —ALG, GMA News