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Amid the presence of nuns and human rights advocates, the House Committee on Justice yesterday approved the committee report on the substitute bill seeking to re-impose the death penalty for illegal drugs and heinous crimes.
Voting 12-6 with one abstention, the panel, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, is expected to endorse the measure for plenary debates. House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, principal author of the bill, wants to approve the measure on third and final reading before Congress goes on a Christmas break.
House Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia moved for the approval of the committee report after the panel decided to pass the two-page sub-committee report No. 2 on the substitute bill to House Bills 1, 16, 513, 3237, 3239, and 3240.
The substitute bill seeks to reinstate death penalty for heinous crimes listed under Republic Act 7659, including murder, plunder, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, sale, use, and possession of illegal drugs, and carnapping with homicide.
Among those who voted against the approval of the committee report were Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Siquijor Rep. Ramon Rocamora, Quezon City Rep. Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, and Agusan del Norte Rep. Lawrence Lemuel Fortun.
House Deputy Minority Leader and Coop-Natcco partylist Rep. Anthony Bravo abstained from voting.
Bag-ao sought an exhaustive and comprehensive scrutiny of the substitute bill in a move to block the passage of the committee report.
“I move for the review of the substitute bill line by line and page by page,” she said, but House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas and Garcia were quick to oppose her motion.
“It will take much time and it will be the function of the floor, so I object,” Farinas said. (Charissa M. Luci)