By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — It appears that the Philippine Senate is nearing the possibility of reviving capital punishment following a pronouncement from Senate majority leader Juan Miguel ‘Migs’ Zubiri that the proposal regarding death penalty has a “50-50 chance” of passage in the Upper House.
Debates on whether the death penalty should be reinstated in the country were revived following the fatal shooting of a mother and son in the hands of a policeman in Tarlac.
Zubiri had commented that (the Senate) is the body that will decide on the matter.
“So if there will be a voting, I think there’s a 50-50 chance, we will not block this if my colleagues want to debate on this, we can,” the lawmaker from Mindanao pointed out.
Death penalty bills are currently pending at the committee level in the Senate, Zubiri added in a radio interview.
“Death penalty prompts a heated debate, this is also an emotional issue. Of course, I side with victims that those committing a serious crime should be punished severely,” the senator enthused.
He noted that the Senate approved last year a bill that would establish separate prison facility for heinous crime convicts.
This came as Zubiri pushed for reforms in the country’s criminal justice system, saying there are still problems that need to be addressed before death penalty can be reinstated.
“Sentencing someone to death is really dangerous, considering the state of our criminal justice system, that’s the problem, there are still a lot of problems,” he remarked.
In ending, Zubiri described execution as something that cannot be undone.
“If someone is executed, we cannot bring back that life. Those who will suffer are the people who do not have the power and means to hire a good lawyer to defend themselves, so we should really reform our criminal justice system first,” he concluded.
During the 17th Congress, the House approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to impose capital punishment on drug-related crimes. However, it did not make progress in the Senate. (AI/MTVN)