HOUSE Minority Floor Leader Lito Atienza said they are keen to protect the sanctity of life following reports that lawmakers will convene next week for the passage of the death penalty bill.

On Monday, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said voting for the bill on second reading could be done on February 28, a week ahead of their schedule, if the minority failed to maintain a quorum in plenary sessions.

"If they cannot maintain quorum to listen to them by Wednesday, wala na, what’s the point in going on with the debates? I-advance na namin ‘yung botohan ng February 28, Tuesday," Fariñas said.

Atienza, in a phone interview Tuesday, told Sun.Star that the minority bloc was not threatened by Fariñas' words.

He said they were just citing the rules requiring everybody to be present for a quorum.

"I am not in any way threatened by that. We are merely citing the rules. The rules say we must have sufficient number present whenever we discuss any business at all. They can do their worst, we will do our best in the minority to protect the sanctity of life," Atienza said.

The Buhay Partylist representative added that they just want to follow the rules and will continue to do so.

"Threats, and coercion or arm twisting will not move us in anyway but to do what is right and good for all of us."

Previously, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a principal author of the measure, said there are many delaying tactics being made to hold back the approval of the death penalty bill.

He also denied that they are fast-tracking the passage of House Bill 4727, which seeks to revive capital punishment for heinous crimes. Alvarez said they've been going over it since last year.

The House majority is also keen to pass the death penalty bill on the third and final reading by March 15. (SunStar Philippines)