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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Barrita: Passing the death penalty bill

THE House of Representatives, by a vote of 217 in favor, 54 against and one abstention, on Tuesday passed on final reading House Bill (HB) 4727 seeking to reimpose the death penalty for heinous drug-related cases.

Why the hurry to pass the bill reimposing the death penalty, but only for drug-related cases?

Would they rather wait until a colleague sneaks in an amendment to make plunder punishable by death?

•••

HB 4727 has been amended to limit its coverage to drug-related offenses, a bid to support the bloody war against drugs that has claimed over 7,000 lives.

The crimes of plunder, rape and treason were excluded from the death sentence.

That means drug offenders may hang, but not the lawmakers. Well, the bill allows a merciful judge to only impose life sentence on drug convicts.

•••

The bill will punish with death or life imprisonment the importation of dangerous drugs; sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs’ and maintenance of a den, dive or resort.

The same penalty will be imposed on the manufacture of dangerous drugs or controlled precursors and essential chemicals; misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs; and planting of evidence.

Have you ever heard of any law enforcer who had been convicted of planting evidence in drug cases?

•••

With the passage of HB 4727 in the House, as the cliché goes, the ball is now in the hands of the Senate, where deliberations face a gridlock over discussions on the country’s treaty obligations to abolish the death sentence.

The Senate may opt not to touch this ball yet as it deals with “lying” witnesses in their probe into the Davao Death Squad.

Well, as Sen. Panfilo Lacson once famously said, “Ask me no questions, I tell you no lies.”
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