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Sonny Angara explains stand on death penalty after drawing flak online

Senator Sonny Angara on Friday explained his stand on proposals to reimpose capital punishment after drawing flak on social media.

In a text message, Angara said he welcomes criticisms because “being a public servant is being open and accountable on your stand.”

On Twitter, the senator answered some of his followers who called him out for changing his position on the death penalty proposals.





Back in January 2016, Angara said the government should focus on strengthening law enforcement agencies instead of bringing back the death penalty.

On Friday, however, he said he “was open to it because of the drug lords expanding their empires in jail at public expense.”

“But I’m now thinking twice because of police corruption and manipulation of [the] legal system,” he added.

He said he will first hear the arguments of both pro and anti-death penalty groups and senators.

“Mabigat ito dahil buhay ang pinag-uusapan kaya ‘di dapat basta-basta ang desisyon namin,” Angara said.

Seven death penalty proposals are still pending in the Senate justice committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon. Gordon himself is against the said proposals.

Discussions were stalled after Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon pointed out that the Philippines cannot reimpose capital punishment because it will violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR ratified by the Senate.

Article 1 of the Second Optional Protocol states that “no one within the jurisdiction of a state party to the present protocol shall be executed.” 

Asked how his father’s stand on the issue will affect his vote on the death penalty, Angara said: “I always value my father’s opinion; his arguments will surely factor into any decision we make on this issue.”

Former Senator Edgardo Angara argued against the death penalty in a Manila Bulletin column last month, saying “reinstating capital punishment will only make us into an international pariah as we will be reneging on our treaty obligations.”

“Fighting criminality is best achieved through reforms that speed up courts and prosecution procedures, overhaul the police and other law enforcement agencies, and cleanse them of corruption,” the elder Angara added.

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III earlier said the Senate can argue that treaties “cannot tie our hands.”

“Do you want a good reputation or do you want a functioning society? Kasi nga, sa mata mo it’s the most heinous crime, you have to address it,” Pimentel said. — RSJ, GMA News