PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday chided Congress for passing a watered down version of the death penalty bill, saying that the crime of rape with homicide should be included in the list of crimes punishable by death.
“It would be a bit lacking,” Duterte said of the bill that was passed by the House of Representatives, which limited punishable crimes to drug-related offenses.
“Rape with homicide. You get raped, then killed… then they kill you. It’s only fitting,” the President said.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said Duterte was disappointed with the list of punishable crimes under the death penalty bill that was approved, telling Congress to include plunder and rape, particularly of children.
On Friday, Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, a known ally of former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, urged Alvarez not to push through with his threat to strip allies of key positions in the House if they voted against the bill.
Pichay said if the Speaker pushes through with the plan, that would mean “Congress is no longer democractic.”
Arroyo, a deputy speaker, is among the 54 lawmakers who voted against the death penalty bill.
Pichay said he admires Arroyo, who is in danger of losing her post, for taking into consideration principles rather than position.
“I think you cannot exchange a principle for the position of deputy speaker. She had been president already. Why would you have to hang on to the position of deputy speaker?” Pichay said.
“As I am concerned, principle is more important than position,” he added.
Like Arroyo, Pichay also voted against the passage of House Bill 4727.
He said the bill to reimpose death penalty would run contrary to a constitutional provision prohibiting “inhumane punishment.”
Pichay stressed the Constitution-- being the fundamental law of the land–has reduced the maximum penalty to life imprisonment instead of death penalty because “the framers of the Constitution had no intention to reimpose the death penalty.”
Alvarez earlier said the revamp in the House will take effect at the soonest possible time after the House approved on third and final reading the death penalty bill last week.
“Policy is policy,” Alvarez earlier said, saying it would be “awkward” for administration lawmakers to be part of the super majority coalition and yet refuse to support Palace measures such as the death penalty bill.
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