MANILA, Dec 23 (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Tuesday said it would let Congress decide on the fate of the proposed reinstatement of the death penalty in the country.
President Rodrigo Duterte wants to restore the capital punishment in the Philippines but his plan would only be possible once he gets the support of lawmakers, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace press briefing.
“Malinaw po ang stand ng Presidente diyan. Pabor po ang Presidente sa death penalty, lalung-lalo na po sa wide-scale drug trafficking, pero nasa kamay na po iyan ng mga mambabatas (The President’s stand is clear. He favors death penalty, especially for wide-scale drug trafficking. But that is still up to the lawmakers),” Roque said.
Public outcry for the reimposition of death penalty was revived after a video of a shooting incident in Tarlac involving a police officer went viral on social media.
In the viral video, Police Senior M/Sgt. Jonel Nuezca shot dead Sonya Gregorio, 52, and her son Frank Anthony, 25, following a heated argument in Paniqui, Tarlac on Sunday.
Nuezca already surrendered and is now facing double murder charges, a non-bailable offense.
On Monday, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. pushed for the reimposition of the death penalty following the Tarlac shooting incident.
In his fifth and penultimate State of the Nation Address on July 22, Duterte renewed his call on Congress to reinstate death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs and plunder.
Duterte’s call prompted the House Committee on Justice in August this year to start the deliberations on bills pushing for the revival of the death penalty.
Congress, however, has yet to pass a harmonized bill on the planned revival of the capital punishment.
‘Better’ to take videos during crime incidents
Meantime, Roque said it is “better” to take videos during crime incidents so it would be easy for victims to get the justice they deserve.
He issued the statement a day after Philippine National Police chief Gen. Debold Sinas discouraged the public from filming crime incidents so as not to put their lives at risk.
Roque said videos of crime incidents, once authenticated, could serve as “evidence” against crime suspects like Nuezca.
“Mas mabuti pa rin na nagkaroon tayo ng ganiyang video dahil napakadali pong patunayan ang pananagutan nitong pulis na ito dahil i-authenticate lang po iyong video na iyan kung sino ang kumuha at puwede na pong matanggap iyan bilang ebidensiya (It’s better to take videos because it would be easier to hold that cop liable once the video is authenticated and accepted as evidence),” he said.
In a public address delivered late Monday night, Duterte said Nuezca should rot in jail.
Roque stressed that the use of technology, including body cameras, is welcome to expedite the resolution of cases against criminals.
“Nandiyan ang teknolohiya para mapabilis ang paglilitis sa mga lumalabag sa batas. Kaya nga may ilang nagsasabi dapat magkaroon ng body cam ang pulis para makita natin kung anong nangyayari bago gumamit ng dahas ang pulis ‘no (The technology is there to speed up the resolution of cases against lawbreakers. That’s why some want cops to use body cameras so we can monitor them),” he said. (MNS)