Senators seek death penalty for terrorists, plunderers, rapists, drug pushers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two Senators are filing bills reviving the death penalty, as soon as the 17th Congress opens on July 25.

The offices of Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III confirmed the Senators are proposing separate bills, both covering a wide range of heinous crimes — from drug-related offenses to terrorism, murder, rape, human trafficking, even treason and plunder — to be punishable by death.

Lacson, former Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), noted an alarming surge of heinous crimes in recent years.

The PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management has documented 9,646 murder cases, 31,741 cases of robbery, and 10,298 rape cases in 2015. These translate to an average incidence of murder every 54 minutes, robbery every 16 minutes, and rape every 51 minutes.

Lacson said life imprisonment, the maximum penalty for some heinous crimes, is not a deterrent to grave offenders, thus the need to revive capital punishment.

“To reinstate public order and the rule of law, there is an impending need to revisit and re-impose the death penalty on certain heinous crimes,” the returning Senator said in a statement Sunday. “[A] death penalty law is appropriately necessary due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes.”

Citing PNP data in 2015, Lacson said 75 percent of the most heinous crimes were drug-related while 65 percent of inmates in prisons were either accused or convicted of drug-related crimes.

From January to May 2016, Lacson said the PNP recorded “a staggering number of crime incidents” including 3,615 murder cases, 3,996 rape cases, and 9,971 robbery cases.

It “has resulted not only in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property but also affected the nation’s efforts toward sustainable economic development and prosperity,” Lacson said.

Sotto previously said the surge in heinous crimes compels the government to resort to the “ultimate criminal penalty” as provided for in the Constitution.

Sotto filed the revival of death penalty in the 16th Congress, but failed to gain support from his fellow lawmakers. But with President Rodrigo Duterte being vocal in the fight against criminality, Sotto is confident capital punishment will be restored.

Also read: Duterte: Death penalty is for retribution

Watch: Restoring the death penalty: Weighing in on Duterte's plan

For heinous crimes, plunder, treason, and more

Both Lacson and Sotto support death penalty by lethal injection, a stark contrast to President Duterte’s proposal of death by hanging.

The two Senators are seeking capital punishment for high-profile drug traffickers — including drug-related cases such as importation, trade, manufacture and possession of dangerous drugs, cultivation of plants classified as dangerous drugs, as well as unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs.

Aside from drug-related crimes, Lacson also proposes to expand the coverage of death penalty to include other heinous crimes such as terrorism, infanticide, parricide, rape, and murder.

Carnapping, trafficking of persons, illegal recruitment, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and robbery, will also be considered as heinous crimes and will be punishable by death.

Lacson also seeks to impose death penalty on qualified piracy, qualified bribery, and destructive arson, even treason and plunder.

Should the bill be enacted into law, death sentence shall be carried out not later than one year after the judgment has become final and executory. The President, however, can exercise executive clemency powers at all times.

Watch: Capital punishment around the world