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Death penalty revival bid has 50-50 Senate approval chance, says Zubiri

For Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the proposal to revive death penalty in the country might have a 50-50 chance in the upper chamber, in light of the killing by a police officer of a mother and her son in Paniqui, Tarlac on December 20.

"Kung magkaroon ng botohan, I think 50-50 yung chance pero hindi natin haharangan ito. Kung gusto nila pagdebatihan ito, pwede naman," Zubiri said in a Dobol B sa News TV interview when asked of the chance of passage of a death penalty bill in the Senate.

The shooting to death of Sonya Gregorio and her Frank Anthony by Police Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca in Paniqui has sparked renewed interest in reinstating death penalty in the country.

However, Zubiri, who also serves as vice chairman of the Philippine Red Cross, believes that it is better to fix the country's justice system first before re-imposing capital punishment.

He said one of the fundamental principles of the Red Cross is that life is valuable.

"Napakadelikado rin yung mahatulan ng kamatayan na mali. Kasi dito sa criminal justice system natin, yan ang problema, napakaraming problema pa. May kurapsyon, may maling hatol. Kapag patay na kayo, hindi na kayo pwedeng buhayin ulit," Zubiri argued.

"Dapat siguro natin ayusin yung ating criminal justice system muna," he added.

Zubiri, along with Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon, earlier filed Senate Bill 1055 which seeks to establish a separate detention facility for prisoners who were convicted of heinous crimes.

This measure, Zubiri believes, could ensure that those who committed heinous crimes would be brought to justice outside death penalty.

Back in the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a measure imposing death penalty on drug-related crimes, although it did not get the same approval in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Nuezca already in police custody  and has been indicted for two counts of murder.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier said the DOJ will ensure justice will be served. —LBG, GMA News