By Mario Casayuran
The Senate will undertake one or two more public hearings before it submits for plenary debate a measure seeking the imposition of the death penalty, this time on high-level illegal drugs dealing only.
The public hearing will be conducted by Sen. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao because Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee, had refused to conduct a public hearing on Pacquiao’s pro-death penalty bill because he is against the reimposition of the supreme penalty.
Pacquiao said he is pushing for the enactment of a death penalty measure despite a public statement at the Vatican of Pope Francis that death penalty is inadmissible in all circumstances and that the Catholic Church should fight for its abolition.
Pacquiao, a Christian preacher, maintained that the death penalty is allowed by the Philippine Constitution and by the Bible.
The Bible, according to Pacquiao, gives powers to authorities, meaning governments, to impose the death penalty on heinous crimes.
After the House of Representatives has approved its own version of the death penalty measure, Malacañang now awaits the passage of a similar bill at the Senate.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, a former chairman of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), is inclined to pass the bringing back of the capital punishment for top drug lords.
The Pacquiao bill seeks the imposition of death penalty on drug trafficking, rape with murder, kidnapping for ransom (KFR) and robbery with murder.
Pressed during a DWIZ radio interview, Pacquiao appeared inclined to just press for the crime of top-level drug trafficking just so the death penalty punishment is adopted.
Pacquiao expressed hopes that the death penalty bill could be passed by the Senate before the end of the year.