Lower House Approves Death Penalty Bill

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the House Bill No. 4727, seeking to reimpose the death penalty for drug-related offenses, on third and final reading.

216 congressmen voted for the passage of death penalty bill. 54 of the members said no, while only one representative abstained.

Originally, the bill contains 21 heinous crimes proposed for the death penalty, but it was soon trimmed down into four which is plunder, rape, treason and drug-related crimes. Now, the bill constitutes drug-related offenses only.

The House Bill 4727 or the Death Penalty bill does not impose the mandatory death penalty to offenders, but rather it allows judges to punish perpetrators of drug-related crimes with the death penalty or lifetime imprisonment. Examples of drug-related crimes for the death penalty are the following:

  • Importation of dangerous drugs
  • Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs
  • Manufacturing of dangerous drugs
  • Cultivation or culture of plants classified as hazardous drugs
  • Unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs
  • Misappropriation, misapplication or failure of a public officer to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs.

Moreover, the bill allows firing squad, hanging or lethal injection in the process. Children and senior citizen ages 70 years old and above at the time of the commission of the crime will not be subject to the death penalty.

The Philippines is the first country in Asia to abolish the death penalty in 1987. It was brought back in 1993 by then President Fidel Ramos due to increasing crime rates in the society. However, when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office, she abolished once again death penalty in the country. Now, as President Duterte took office, he pushes for the revival of the death sentence for it will serve as retribution for those who committed heinous crimes.

The Bill will be elevated to the Senate, where the opposition lawmakers are set to block its passage into law.

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