Filtered By: Topstories

Gordon reluctant to call for Senate hearing on death penalty

Senator Richard Gordon on Tuesday said he is not keen on hearing the pending death penalty bills in the Upper Chamber even after President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Congress to do revive such for drug-related crimes.

"I'm not gonna hold a hearing, I don't believe it. If they insist, then I'll probably hold a hearing first and if inaakala nila hindi ako fair ibibigay ko sa kanila," Gordon, chair of the Senate committee on justice, said in a virtual interview with reporters.

"Anyway, ibababa naman 'yan sa floor. Ano ba talaga ang priority? Death penalty o mahuli ang mga pumapatay?" he added. "The public must see the justice system work. Why are we not making the justice system work?"

Moreover, he said reviving death penalty could raise a "constitutional issue" as the Philippines is a signatory to an international treaty that is against it.

"We cannot just do that, unang-una there is an international agreement that we signed... the countries that signed cannot issue death penalty and that is ratified by the Senate so hindi basta-basta magagawa yan na ili-leave natin motu propio," Gordon said.

Minority senators pointed out that death penalty is not suitable to the weak justice system and present pandemic situation.

Earlier in the day, Senator Imee Marcos urged her colleagues in the Senate to start hearing the pending death penalty bills instead of placing these in the back burner.

Senator Francis Tolentino also supports the reimposition of death penalty.

"Kahit po mayroong pandemic eh mayroon pa rin pong mga ganitong krimen na nagaganap at hindi po natin nasusupil kahit naka-lockdown po. Napapanahon na po ito, 'yung heinous crimes po, 'yung tinutukoy ko 'yung mga talagang karumal-dumal at siguro isama na rin natin 'yung mga drug-related offenses," Tolentino said in a radio interview.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, said he would only support death penalty if it would be meted out against high-level drug convicts.

At least four death penalty bills are pending in the Senate.—AOL, GMA News