All the three Bohol congressmen had stood by the reimposition of death penalty up to the final voting yesterday.
The death penalty bill approved by the House of Representatives had only three among the Central Visayas legislators stepping out from the crowd- -Raul del Mar of Cebu City-North District and Ramon Rocamora of Siquijor Lone District who voted “No”, and Rodrigo Abellanosa of Cebu City-South District abstaining.
Bohol’s Rene Relampagos (1st District), Erico Aristotle Aumentado (2nd District), and Arthur Yap (3rd District) went along with the majority, voting “Yes”.
The Cebu legislators voting “Yes” were Gerald Anthony Gullas (1st district), Wilfredo Caminero (2nd District), Gwendolyn Garcia (3rd District), Benhur Salimbangon (4th District), Ramon “Red” Durano VI (5th District), Jonas Cortes (6th District), Peter John Calderon (7th District), and Aileen Radaza of the Lone District of Lapu-Lapu City.
All in all, the death penalty bill at the Lower House level garnered 217 votes. Only 54 voted “No”, and one abstained.
True to what House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had earlier warned, those who voted “No” and had committees to chair were stripped of their positions.
Yap based his vote on the survey through social media which showed 85 percent of those responding favor the reimposition of death penalty.
Most of those who expressed support for death penalty echoed President Rodrigo Duterte’s description of the nation’s condition being plagued by drug addicts who committed heinous crimes.
To curb the rise of crime rate, death penalty needs to be imposed again, according to most of the reactions.
Some suggested that the justice system should be improved first before death penalty will be imposed again.
For his part, Aumentado, who was at first inclined to abstain, finally decided to vote “Yes” on the second and the third reading, considering the watered-down version.
Aumentado actually believes the reimposition of death penalty should be thoroughly examined.
He had preferred that it would include murder, rape and plunder as originally proposed.
However, since the measure was cut down to only one punishable act in focus, it helped him to come up with a stand.
House Bill 4727, proposing the reinstatement of death penalty is authored by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
It is entitled “An act imposing the death penalty on certain heinous crimes, repealing for the purpose Republic Act No. 9346, entitled ‘An act prohibiting the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines,’ and amending Act. No. 3815, as amended, otherwise known as the ‘Revised Penalty Code,’ and other special penal laws.”
Aumentado also took into consideration that the imposition of death penalty, as proposed in the bill, will not be mandatory and the judge hearing the case is given the leeway “whether to impose life sentence or the maximum penalty of death on convicts”.
Under the bill, the drug-related offenses punishable by death or life imprisonment are importation of dangerous drugs; sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution and transportation of dangerous drugs maintenance of a den, dive or resort; manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals; misappropriation, misapplication or failure to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs; and planting of evidence.
For possession of drugs, the maximum penalty will only be penalized with the maximum offense is life imprisonment.
Aumentado also noted that under the bill, “death penalty will not be imposed on offenders below 18 years old and those over 70 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime”.
Meanwhile, the rest of the anti-death penalty bloc comprised of Francis Gerald Abaya (Cavite1st District), Ma. Lourdes Acosta-Alba (Bukidnon 1st District), Ma. Lourdes R. Aggabao (Isabela 4th District), Gary C. Alejano (Party List – MAGDALO), Isagani S. Amatong, (Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District), Jose L. Atienza Jr. (Party List–BUHAY), Kaka J. Bag-ao (Dinagat Islands Lone District), Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. (Ifugao Lone District), Jorge “Bolet” Banal (Quezon City 3rd District), Jose Christopher Y. Belmonte (Quezon City 6th District), Edcel Lagman of Albay First District, Lawrence Fortun of Agusan Del Norte 1st District, Tom Villarin of Akbayan, Ramon Rocamora of Siquijor, Teddy Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao, Antonio Tinio of ACT Teachers, Jocelyn Limkaichong of Negros Oriental 1st District, Gabriel Bordado Jr. of Camarines Sur 3rd District, Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela Women’s Party, Gary Alejano of Magdalo, Sarah Elago of Kabataan, Emmanuel Billones of Capiz 1st District, Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Jorge Banal of Quezon City 3rd District, Edgar Erice of Caloocan City 2nd District, France Castro of ACT Teachers, Sitti Djalin Turabin-Hataman of Anak Mindanao, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Party, Manuel Zubiri of Bukidnon 3rd District, Raul Daza of Northern Samar 1st District, Lianda B. Bolilia of Batangas 4th District, Cecilia Leonila V. Chavez of Party List– BUTIL, Evelina G. Escudero of Sorsogon 1st District, Juliet Marie D. Ferrer of Negros Occidental 4th District, Florencio T. Flores Jr. of Bukidnon 2nd District, Salvio B. Fortuno of Camarines Sur 5th District, Jose Enrique III “Joet” S. Garcia, of Bataan 2nd District, Mark O. Go of Baguio City Lone District, Virgilio S. Lacson (Party List–MANILA TEACHERS), Manuel Luis T. Lopez of Manila 1st District, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga 2nd District, Edward Vera Perez Maceda of Manila 4th District, Rodante D. Marcoleta (Party List–SAGIP), Imelda R. Marcos of Ilocos Norte 2nd District, Makmod D. Mending Jr. (Party List–AMIN), Joseph Stephen S. Paduano (Party List–ABANG LINGKOD), Marisol C. Panotes of Camarines Norte 2nd District, Prospero A. Pichay Jr. of Surigao del Sur, 1st District, Josephine Ramirez-Sato of Occidental Mindoro Lone District, Harry L. Roque Jr. (Party List–KABAYAN), Orestes T. Salon (Party List–AGRI), Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas 6th District, Baby Aline Vargas-Alfonso of Cagayan 2nd District, Mariano Michael M. Velarde Jr. (Party List–BUHAY), and Rosanna V. Vergara of Nueva Ecija 3rd District.
Geraldine Roman of Bataan 1st District and Henedina Abad of Batanes who were earlier expected to vote “No”, had voted “Yes”.