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Duterte asks Congress to restore death penalty for drugs, plunder


By Argyll Geducos 

President Duterte renewed his appeal to Congress to restore the death penalty to curb illegal drugs and corruption in government—two things that his administration has been fighting since the start of his term.

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Batasan on Monday. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Batasan on Monday.

In his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), Duterte expressed disappointment that three years have passed by and illegal drugs and corruption remain to be the country’s problems.

“It has been three years since I took my oath of office and it pains me to say that we have not learned our lesson. The illegal drug problem persists, corruption continues and emasculates the courage we need to sustain our moral recovery initiatives,” he said.

According to the President, the Marawi siege, which he said was funded by drug money, is one of the reasons why he is advocating for the re-imposition of capital punishment.

“During that Marawi siege, tons of shabu worth millions and millions of pesos, drug money killed 175 and wounded 2,001 of my soldiers and policemen in that five-month battle,” Duterte said.

“Let the reason why I advocate the imposition of the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs,” he added.

Duterte recognized the help of the local communities in the drug war but said it will not be enough to truly end the drug trade unless corruption is eradicated as well.

“Our citizens have begun to do their part in the war against drugs, and through the barangay formation of anti-drug councils, and actually surrendering bricks of cocaine found floating in the sea into our islands,” he said.

“However, the drugs will not be crushed unless we continue to eliminate corruption that allows the social monster to survive,” he added.

“I respectfully request congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs as well as plunder,” he continued.

The President said that while there is a long way to go before the government puts an end to the illegal substance, he will not renege on his resolve to fight the drug trade.

“I am aware there is still a long way to go in our fight against this social menace,” he said.

“Believe me, I will end my term fighting,” he added.

President Duterte has been pushing for the restoration of capital punishment in the country. However, the public has criticized the Congress after the House Majority bloc decided to exclude plunder, rape, and treason from the list of the crimes punishable with death.

The exclusion is reportedly to help them arrive at a compromise after some lawmakers remained hesitant about voting in favor of House Bill No. 4727.

Earlier, Malacañang said that the re-imposition of capital punishment is an important component in keeping a crime-free and drug-free Philippines.

“The re-imposition of death penalty is an important component in building a trustworthy government that protects its citizens and youth from crime, especially the kind perpetuated by illegal drug traffickers and violators,” Malacañang had said.

Earlier, Duterte said that he would like to know the rationale why Congress decided to exclude plunder and rape from the list of crimes punishable with the death penalty under the said House Bill.

Duterte said that while he did not say he will not kill plunderers or corrupt officials, he said that rape is still one of the most heinous crimes that should merit the heaviest penalty.

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