Tackling death penalty bill an ‘unnecessary distraction’ amid pandemic — solon
Daphne Galvez, INQUIRER.net, 12:07 PM August 05, 2020
MANILA, Philippines — Muntinlupa City Rep. Ruffy Biazon on Wednesday asked the House committee on justice to exclude his death penalty bill from the hearing agenda, saying the revival of the discussion on the matter is an “unnecessary distraction” while the country faces a public health crisis.
The House panel opened debates on bills pushing for the reinstatement of the capital punishment just days after President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to revive the death penalty via lethal injection for drug-related crimes.
Biazon pointed out the timing of the death penalty bills, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
“I believe that at this point, a contentious social issue such as the death penalty may be an unnecessary distraction in the effort to consolidate public and private sector support and focus against the pandemic,” Biazon said during the hearing.
“A socially and politically divisive debate on the death penalty will be detrimental to the Heal as One mantra. The public expects Congress to give priority measures that directly address the public health emergency we are currently facing,” he added.
The lawmaker also said the online hearings, which is being currently used in light of pandemic, is very limiting in terms of debates on a highly contested issue.
Biazon, despite rescinding his bill from the agenda, maintained his stance in pushing for the revival of the death penalty. He said he still believes capital punishment is the “appropriate and commensurate” penalty for high-level drug traffickers.
“However, I also believe that there’s a time for everything, even in legislation. With two more years remaining in the mandate of the 18th Congress and the term of the President, I believe there is still time for the consideration of the bill after the pandemic has been placed under control or has died down,” he said.
With Biazon’s withdrawal of his bill, his name will also not be included in any consolidated measure of the death penalty bills in the chamber.
At present, there are 12 bills in the House pushing for the death penalty for certain heinous crimes.
The death penalty was abolished in 2006 under the administration of former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
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