Alvarez threatens congressmen who will vote vs death penalty

SPEAKER Pantaleon D. Alvarez on Wednesday said there will be no conscience vote among lawmakers on the controversial death-penalty bill at the House of Representatives.

Alvarez, in an interview, said House leaders and members of the ruling PDP-Laban who will vote against the reimposition of the capital punishment should resign.

According to the Speaker, the same rule will also apply on committee chairmen and vice chairmen at the Lower House.

Alvarez added that House leaders who will not support the Duterte administration and the House’s priority bill will be replaced.

“They are free to resign from the party. I will not force them, of course,” Alvarez said.

“[Ang mga] deputy speakers na hindi sasama doon sa administration bill, papalitan po natin. Kasi awkward na deputy speaker ka and then you don’t agree with the leadership,” he said.

Earlier, Alvarez said he has enough votes to approve the capital punishment in 30 days, as the so-called super majority will vote in favor of the death-penalty bill.

But lawmakers opposing the death- penalty bill continue to raise the issue of quorum as a dilatory tactic.

Under the death-penalty bill several crimes are punishable by death through hanging, firing squad or lethal injection, but Alvarez said the lower chamber may change the scope of the death-penalty bill as the House may focus only on illegal- drugs-related crimes.

Among the deputy speakers who are against the capital-punishment bill are Lakas Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga, Liberal Party Rep. Romero S. Quimbo of Marikina, and PDP-Laban Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. of Camarines Sur.

“I spoke with President Duterte about that, it’s alright with him if I oppose the death penalty,” Arroyo said in an earlier news conference.

Drilon warns vs trade sanctions

SENATE President Pro Tempore Franklin M. Drilon warned against moves to restore death penalty for heinous crimes, voicing concerns it could trigger trade sanctions against the Philippines.

Drilon pointed out potential backlash, citing “clear international treaty obligations that we cannot reimpose the death penalty domestically.”

Maraming repercussions iyan, as the Department of Justice said, it can always be cited, for purposes, say, denying us a preferential trade treatment in other countries,” Drilon said.

For instance, he cited the European Union (EU). “Mayroon tayong General System of Preference kung saan walang tariff ang ating mga produkto. Now, if we violate our international treaty, then it could be reviewed, and that can be the basis for withdrawing the benefits.”

Drilon further warned that, “more important, we will be isolated from the international community, because we cannot even be trusted to honor our treaty obligations. Malaking bagay po iyan sa international arena na mabansagan tayo na hindi tumutupad sa ating international commitments.”

He added: “Namatay po ang death penalty dahilan sa maliwanag naman na hindi natin puwedeng maibalik ’yung parusang pagpatay dahilan sa ating treaty commitment. Ang isang tratado po ay kasama sa ating batas, at iyan po ay ating ni-ratify dito sa Senado, ni-ratify ng Pangulo ng ating bansa, at sinang-ayunan ng 2/3 ng Senado, at iyan po ay naging part of the law of the land. Doon po ay bawal maibalik ang death penalty, kaya hindi ko alam kung paano i-justify na ipapasa ang death-penalty bill in the face of this clear international treaty obligation that we cannot impose the death penalty domestically.”

With Butch Fernandez



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