Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said he is confident that the country’s justice system has sufficient safeguards to ensure it can accurately determine guilt in trials that would require the death penalty.
Dela Rosa, who lobbied for the reinstatement of the death penalty for high profile drug trafficking cases in the 19eCongress reiterated that capital punishment would only apply to high-level drug lords.
“That’s why this bill only focuses on high level drug trafficking because we don’t want this bill to be seen as anti-poor where they claim that only the poor will suffer the punishment of dead because they don’t have the money to defend themselves in court,” dela Rosa said in a recent interview on CNN Philippines.
“Can protect ‘yung judicial pagdating his (court) trial. Sisiguruhin naman nila na hindi mabitay ‘yung mga hindi karapat-dapat na mabitay (The judicial system has sufficient safeguards during trials. It will ensure that those who do not deserve the death penalty will not be sentenced to capital punishment) . We have enough confidence in the judicial system,” he stressed.
Dela Rosa, who was former President Duterte’s leader in the ‘war on drugs’ and a former senior Philippine National Police (PNP) official, explained that the bill is limited to trafficking high profile drug lords due to the fact that the Chinese drug lords are wealthy enough to defend themselves.
“No high level drug dealers are considered a small time… So I don’t think it’s anti-poor because we don’t include street level drug dealers in this project law,” he said.
Dela Rosa introduced the death penalty bill to the 19th Congress as one of his top 10 priority laws and is confident that “it will gain traction” this time.
According to him, Senator Francis Tolentino, new chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, has already assured him that he will pay attention to it.
During the 18th Congress, 11 death penalty bills were introduced, but these were only sent to committee because the panel’s former chairman, Senator Richard Gordon, was against the death penalty.
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