Updated 12:19 PM PHT Tue, March 7, 2017
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says he plans to file another death penalty bill to include other crimes — as soon as the current one, which covers only drug crimes, makes it through the lower house.
This developed after President Rodrigo Duterte said he would ask lawmakers why rape was removed from the list of crimes punishable by death in the House version of the controversial bill .
Alvarez, who co-authored the proposed law, explained on Monday that the list was narrowed down to just drug-related crimes — except mere possession — in order to speed up the process. There would be less objections and shorter debates if only drug crimes would be included first.
Justice committee chair Rey Umali had given similar reasons for taking out rape from the bill. However, he said other crimes could be included later on via amendments.
But Alvarez was willing to do it piecemeal.
"We would like to have an output right away. Because the (bill) is controversial, let's (add other crimes) one at a time," Alvarez said.
The Speaker said another bill for rape and plunder could be filed immediately after this first one becomes law.
Meanwhile, one of the staunchest critic of the death penalty bill has admitted that results of the scheduled third and final reading Tuesday was a "foregone conclusion."
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said anti-death solons had conceded defeat and accepted that the proposed measure would pass final reading. He said many of those originally against or hesitant about the bill changed their mind after the death penalty was limited only to drug-related offenses.
But Lagman had a warning. He said the removal of other crimes from the bill could just have been a ploy.
He said it was possible that other crimes would be reinserted in bicameral conference committee meeting — when the Senate and House versions of the bill are reconciled.
CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.