Palace denies pressure on Congress to pass death penalty bill

MALACANANG denied Thursday that President Rodrigo Duterte is pressuring Congress to immediately pass a measure seeking to revive the death penalty in the country.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte respects the independence of Congress and trusts its judgment in approving a measure that would revive the capital punishment, which was abolished in 1987.

“The revival of death penalty is a campaign promise of President Duterte and part of the priority legislative measure of his administration [but] the President respects the independence of Congress as a separate co-equal branch of government,” Andanar said in a statement.

“He trusts the wisdom of our lawmakers to see that the enactment of such law would benefit the nation not only by instilling respect for the law among our people but also by ending impunity and ensuring that those who commit heinous crimes are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” he added.

On Wednesday, Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza accused the President of pressuring the lawmakers to re-impose death penalty.

"This is the administration’s initiative, not Congress'. The death penalty is an imposition of the leadership of this administration so we, congressmen, sad to say, are under pressure," Atienza said.

"No less than President Duterte is directing the passage of the bill," he added.

House Bill 1, which seeks to revive the death penalty on all heinous crimes as defined by previous laws, was approved by the House committee on justice before Christmas and will be sent to the plenary when Congress resumes its sessions next week. (Sunnex)

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