Oppositors continue to challenge death penalty bill

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Rep. Edcel Lagman

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — For some opponents of House Bill 4727 or the death penalty bill, hope springs eternal.

They may have lost the vote on second reading, but they are determined to stop or even win the vote on third reading.

"We will try all parliamentary means to abort a third reading," said Minority Leader Edcel Lagman.

In a text message to CNN Philippines, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat says they will use the weekend to lobby those who are against the death penalty to remain steadfast.

"Several who were in principle and belief were against the death penalty shifted their vote over the past two weeks – a combination of watering down the bill, threatening to remove them from their positions and party leaders pressure," he said.

He admitted some anti-death penalty congressmen cast their vote in favor of the bill after it was watered down, and after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez warned that congressmen who vote against the measure will find themselves losing their positions or chairmanship in standing committees.

Baguilat also called on church leaders, Catholic bishops, and the faithful in the district level to visit and talk to congressmen.

He said the presence of Catholic bishops in the plenary when the death penalty bill is put to vote would be a game changer.

For his part, Akbayan Representative Tom VIllarin, also a death penalty critic, is conceding defeat in the lower chamber - but not in other arenas.

For his part, bill sponsor Rey Umali said he expects more delaying tactics from critics, but he is not bothered by them.

"The proceedings today are already a glimpse of how the majority will vote next week," he said in an interview Wednesday night.