House Approves Death Penalty on Third and Final Reading
In a recent news report, the House of Representatives eventually passed the bill seeking to reimpose death penalty on drug-related crimes here in the Philippines during the third and final reading.
The said measure entitled as House Bill 4727 received at least 216 voted, while some 54 say no and 1 abstention.
The bill was approved on the third and final reading just a few days after the House passed the same on second reading. Thus, opposition lawmakers cry foul claiming that it violated the three-day notice rule in the 1987 Constitution.
Opposition lawmaker, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, cited the Section 26(2) of Article VI of the 1987 Constitution which stated as follows:
“No bill passed by either House shall become a law unless it has passed three readings on separate days and printed copies thereof in its final form had been distributed to its Members three days before its passage, except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment.”
He also cited the Section 58 of Rule X of the House Rules which stated as follows:
“No bill or joint resolution shall become law unless it passes three (3) readings on separate days and printed copies thereof in its final form are distributed to the Members three (3) days before its passage except when the President certifies to the necessity of its immediate enactment.”
It can be remembered that during the second reading, the approval of the controversial bill was only through voice voting, which means there was no records to show on how the lawmakers registered their votes.
Meanwhile, during the third and final reading, lawmakers were asked to explain their vote under nominal voting before passing the measure.
So far, despite the strong oppositions of several lawmakers, the bill is now waiting whether President Rodrigo Duterte will sign it into law or not. However, opposition lawmakers strongly pledged to question the legality of the measure once it has been signed into law.
Apparently, this death penalty bill has been amended, limiting its coverage to drug-related crimes only. The measure excluded plunder, rape and treason.
The proposed law would not impose mandatory death sentence, it would only give the presiding judge the freedom whether to impose life sentence or death penalty on convicts.
The bill further states that death penalty shall not be imposed on children below 18 years of age or senior citizens over 70 years of age at the time of the crime’s commission.
Once the bill has been approved, convicts would likely face hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.