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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, February 17, 2017
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Gasataya still studying proposal

          Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya yesterday said he is still studying the proposed reimposition of the death penalty.

          Gasataya said the proposed bill restoring the death penalty for all heinous crimes was passed on first reading and is now in the plenary for debates.

          The Catholic Church, human rights groups, and some lawmakers have objected to the reimposition of capital punishment in the country, saying it is not a deterrent to crime.

          Gasataya said that whateveris the position or stand of Congress, he will listen and assess  it because many changes are going on. He cited, for example, that before, there were more than 20 crimes considered heinous and the death penalty was mandatory.

          Last week there was another proposal that the death penalty should no longer be mandatory. It means that if one has committed a crime, the penalty will be either reclusion perpetua, or death penalty. The judge is given the authority to choose which penalty to impose, he said.

          The debate is still going on so there is nothing final, he added.

          Gasataya said he is still evaluating things especially the position papers and the stand of several groups. Perhaps after the period of debate they will come up with their stand.

          One of the reasons why many signified their position is that  of the inclusion of drug-related crimes. Until the bill being deliberated on becomes final, it would be better to listen to all sides beforemaking  any decision on  the matter, he said.   

          Earlier, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, during his recent trip to Bacolod,  said they need to study the proposed reimposition of the death penalty.

          A lot of countries that have death penalty like Hong Kong, Singapore and parts of the United States, have very developed justice systems, he said.

          “If there is a possibility that an innocent person dies because of a faulty justice system, that is something we must consider. Second is the treaty commitment that we have,” Angara said.

          In 2006 or 2007, the Philippines committed not to reenact capital punishment, he said. “So we have to look at the repercussions to our international commitments,” he said.

          Angara said they also have to look at the effectivity of the death penalty as a deterrent.

          Angara added that, personally, he is still studying the matter.*CGS



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