SENATE Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Friday, July 5, that trying to stop the death penalty bill would be tough as more lawmakers have expressed support for it.
"It will be a tough fight considering that it is an administration-backed legislation and a number of senators have openly endorsed its passage. Let alone our diminished number in the Senate," Drilon said in a statement.
Senators who authored the bill in the 18th Congress are Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Ronald dela Rosa, Panfilo Lacson, and Christopher "Bong" Go.
Senators who have expressed support are Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, Aquilino Pimentel III, Juan "Sonny" Angara, Pia Cayetano, Bong Revilla, Francis Tolentino, and Manuel Lapid.
Those opposed, aside from Drilon, are Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, and detained Leila de Lima.
Drilon, a former Department of Justice secretary, said capital punishment would only favor the rich.
"Notwithstanding these difficulties we will do our best to prevent it. We will never allow the 18th Congress to give license to authorities to kill the poor," Drilon assured.
He calls on the Filipinos to support him and other anti-death penalty senators.
"No justice will be served if it involves taking a life. Let's be more rational, humane, independent, and conscientious in handling this very sensitive issue," Drilon said.
Drilon also invoked the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which mandates the abolition of death penalty. The Philippines is a signatory.
"Unless this issue is resolved, we cannot have a complete debate, because we will be back to the same question: can Philippines reimpose death penalty without any regard to our treaty obligation?" he said. (Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)