OFFICIALS of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Tuesday, July 28, 2020, expressed full support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for the reimposition of the death penalty on drug-related offenses.
“The absence of capital punishment is favorable for drug peddlers who continue their nefarious activities despite being in detention,” PDEA Director General Wilkins M. Villanueva said.
“We have intercepted drug transactions perpetrated by convicted high-profile inmates while inside the national penitentiaries. They have found ways to communicate with the outside world one way or the other, and give direct orders to people involved in the illegal drug trade,” he added.
Villanueva said death penalty should be imposed depending on the quantities of narcotics confiscated from a suspect.
He said foreign and local drug offenders, including drug protectors and coddlers who were found guilty of manufacturing, trafficking, and pushing of dangerous drugs, should also be executed.
“Execution by lethal injection is for big-time drug traffickers, and not for the street-level pushers. I strongly suggest that seized drugs weighing one kilogram or more should be the threshold amount,” he said.
“Tougher penalties will send a clear message and force them to have second thoughts before smuggling and trafficking illegal drugs. They have the luxury to operate in our country without worry because the maximum penalty on our laws is less harsh,” he added.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, for his part, said the revival of the death penalty for drug offenders is long overdue.
“We need to pass it in order to reinforce our fight against illegal drugs. In Asia tayo na lang ang naiiwan na walang death penalty. Almost all heinous crimes committed are related with the use of illegal drugs,” he said.
“This is an important deterrent to criminals to stop drug trafficking. So many lives have been wasted because of drugs,” he added.
Neighboring countries such as China and Indonesia have imposed death penalty to address the illegal drug problem.
In 2011, three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were executed through lethal injection in China for drug smuggling, despite appeals from the Philippine government.
In 2010, OFW Mary Jane Veloso was arrested for carrying heroin in a suitcase in Indonesia.
Her execution was set for April 2015, but she was spared after Jakarta heeded Manila's plea to let her testify in the case against her recruiters. (SunStar Philippines)