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Patayan na! ‘Senator Bato’ to push for death penalty for drug pushers

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By Xave Gregorio

If Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa wins as senator in the 2019 polls, he would be pushing for death penalty to be reinstated for all drug pushers.

Dela Rosa said Wednesday (September 12) he eyes reviving the death penalty even for street-level drug peddlers—who he characterized as “victims”—adding that poverty is not an excuse to turn to criminality.

“Kahit na ‘yung pusher, biktima lang din sa kahirapan, pero hindi pwedeng gawing rason ‘yan na kaya ka gumawa ng krimen dahil mahirap ka,” he told reporters after he took his oath as a member of ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan at the office of party president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

The former top cop, who oversaw two years of the administration’s brutal drug war before retiring, said foreign drug traders take advantage of the Philippines’ “loose” laws against drugs, which he blamed for the proliferation of illegal substances in the country.

“Kung patay agad ‘yan, tignan natin kung magtatapang-tapangan pa sila maghatid ng droga,” Dela Rosa said.

Aside from selling drugs, Dela Rosa also wants capital punishment reinstated for organized crime syndicates engaged in carnapping and bank robbery, and other heinous crimes.

Death penalty was abolished in 2006 by Republic Act No. 9346, but administration allies want it back for various offenses, from drug trafficking to heinous crimes like rape and murder.

The House has passed a bill restoring capital punishment in March 2017, but this has met with resistance in the Senate, where it faces an “uphill climb,” according to one of its proponents, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.

Further adding to the stumbling blocks the proposal faces in the upper chamber is Pope Francis’ declaration of death penalty as “inadmissible” in all cases.

But Dela Rosa is undeterred, vowing to push for reforms in law enforcement and the jail system.

“Dito lang sa law enforcement side at sa correction side, ang dami kong gustong mabago. Eh ngayong nasa executive branch ako, we cannot just execute whatever you want to do dahil nga limitado tayo sa batas na nagko-cover diyan sa ating area,” he said.