MANILA – Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said he will support the imposition of death penalty for “high-level drug trafficking.”
“In the Senate, the only way it (death penalty) can pass [is] if we limit it to high-level drug trafficking,” Sotto said on Friday in an interview on ANC’s Headstart.
In January 2014, Sotto filed Senate Bill No. 2080, or “An Act Imposing Death Penalty in the Philippines,” which seeks the revival of the death penalty through lethal injection.
“I’d rather not use the words ‘actively push,’ but I’d allow it to be debated on the floor,” the senator said. “I’ll have Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who is the principal author of that now, to sponsor it. I would probably help him sponsor it, but only up to that level.”
Pacquiao has filed three bills seeking death penalty for heinous crimes involving drug trafficking, kidnapping and aggravated rape.
According to Sotto, the argument that death penalty is anti-poor is “correct,” except for high-level drug trafficking.
“Because high-level drug traffick[ers], they are already in jail and they still operate and they can do everything they want because of money… There is no drug lord who is poor so they can avail of all the best lawyers if they want,” Sotto added.
Only five senators have so far expressed support for the measure, including Sotto and Pacquiao. The others were senators Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Cynthia Villar.
“Most of the members of the Senate, the way I discussed it with them, I sense the only way we can convince 13 of them is [to only impose capital punishment for offences involving] high level drug trafficking,” said Sotto./PN