Let next administration worry about death penalty –Atienza

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An independent House member thinks it is better to just let the next administration tackle the sensitive topic that is the reimposition of death penalty.

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza
(FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The government should concentrate on saving lives and quelling the coronavirus pandemic now and allow the next administration to worry about the proposal to bring back the death penalty,” BUHAY Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza said in a statement Sunday.

“We’re now in the middle of a public health disaster that has already demolished the livelihood and jobs of millions of Filipinos,” stressed Atienza, a former three-term mayor of Manila.

In his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) before a joint session of Congress last July 24, President Duterte called on legislators to revive capital punishment on certain crimes under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

Atienza made his call even as the thousands of daily new infections from the incurable disease threaten to overwhelm the country’s health care system.

The pro-life solon described the pursuit of death penalty as an “exercise in futility” given the current circumstances.

“First of all, Congress realistically lacks the time to work on the death penalty. Second, in less than 22 months, we will be electing a new president and a new Congress, so we might as well let the next administration worry about the highly divisive proposal,” Atienza said.

“Third, even assuming Congress reinstates the death penalty tomorrow, the President still won’t see any judicial executions being carried out for the remainder of his term,” he said. Duterte will finish his six-year term in 2022.

The last time Congress passed a law reimposing capital punishment in 1993, the first death verdict was not carried out until 1999, or until six years later, due to legal challenges and mandatory reviews, Atienza pointed out.

A death penalty bill was actually passed by the House on third and final reading during the previous 17th Congress. However, the measure faced a roadblock in the Senate and was not taken up.

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