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Death penalty bill stuck over sponsorship row

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Legislation to revive the death penalty appears stuck in the Senate at this time, over a row on its sponsorship, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Thursday.

Lacson told ANC Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the justice and human rights committee, is not keen on sponsoring the bill as he is against the death penalty.

“We have not resolved because Sen Gordon being chairman of committee on justice and HR is supposed to sponsor and defend it on the floor but his reason is he is against it. How can you defend something you do not believe in? So we are now trying to resolve if a subcommittee chair will be appointed,” he said.

“It is being discussed in the House of Representatives and Senate. We only have to resolve who will sponsor it on the floor,” he added.

Lacson authored one of the death penalty bills now pending in the Senate. His version covers a range of heinous crimes.

“If I had my way all other heinous crimes. But the consensus among senators supportive of the DP bill is to limit it to high value targets in illegal drugs. There are so many … senators can change their minds depending on the progress of the deliberation on the floor because there are so many new information that would come out,” he said.

On the other hand, Lacson said having a subcommittee chairman sponsor the bill is nothing new.

“In the case of the National ID, it was referred to his committee, at the time he was preoccupied with so many things as chairman of the Blue Ribbon Committee so I was designated the subcommittee chair because I was vice chairman of justice. I defended the National ID system on the floor,” he said.

In supporting the reimposition of the death penalty, Lacson said he is basing his support on his experience as a law enforcer.

He recalled that in 1999, when Leo Echegaray was meted the death penalty and executed, there was an upsurge of complaints for rape.

“Ang sinasabi ng critics, see it is not a preemptive measure kasi dumami rape cases. It’s not the case, dumami report, even cases 5 years before the 1999 execution. They were encouraged, rapes committed 2-3-5 years ago they trooped the precincts to file a complaint, because something could be done pala,” he said.

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