Cortes defends ‘yes’ vote for the reimposition of death penalty

REP. Jonas Cortes (Cebu, 6th District) said he voted in favor of the approval of the death penalty bill to protect his constituents.

Cortes was among of the eight legislators in Cebu who voted “yes” for the reimposition of death penalty in the House of Representatives last Tuesday.

“For me, this is a keystone legislation that will help cascade changes in our justice system, which are needed,” he said.

The former mayor of Mandaue City said he was not pressured to vote for the passage of the bill. He said he weighed everything before he made a decision.

He disclosed that legislators from the “Visayas bloc” discussed the death penalty bill before they were asked for their votes.

The congressman also said he supported the death penalty bill to address the drug proliferation in the country, which is the thrust of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“For me, I voted as representative. It would have been hard if we included our personal opinion or conviction. We have to remember that the people chose me as a representative, not as a Catholic, but as a representative of the sixth district,” he said.

House Bill 4727, which seeks to revive capital punishment for seven drug-related crimes, was approved on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives, with 216 lawmakers supporting it. Only 54 lawmakers stood against it.

The offenses it covers include the imporation of dangerous drugs; sale and transportation of dangerous drugs; manufacture of dangerous drugs; maintenance of a drug den; failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs; and planting of evidence.

The penalty will be carried out by hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.

The bill states that the death penalty should not be imposed on children below 18 years old or senior citizens over 70 years old at the time of the commission of the crime.

The capital punishment was suspended in 2006 during the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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