House Justice Committee Chairman Rey Umali hopes the bill that seeks the revival of death penalty will pass the third and final reading before the first regular session of the 17th Congress ends in May.
Umali says, he used to be against the reimposition of the measure but he changed his mind.
“I’m not in favor of passing death penalty but after the Bilibid hearings, I’m now in favor of the death penalty for heinous drug crimes,” he explains.
Umali is referring to the recent House inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
He notes, lawmakers will have to finalize the decision on whether or not to lower the age of criminal liability that will be covered by the bill.
“When you lower the juvenile age, may corresponding rehabilitation (there is corresponding rehabilitation). Nag-e-evolve pa ito. Hindi pa natin masabi what it will be (it is still evolving and we cannot yet say what it will be),” he says.
Umali says, the seeming lack of interest of the Senate in passing the bill does not bother him.
“We respect that. We will do what is needed to pass it in the House,” he adds.
Umali spoke at a press briefing in the House of Representatives on Monday morning.
Under the consolidated bill of the House, 21 heinous crimes are punishable by death penalty.
These include penalties relating to terrorism and illegal drugs.