Any attempt to insert additional criminal acts to the four heinous crimes already listed in the death penalty menu will be blocked when the House of Representatives votes on the measure possibly on Tuesday.
This assurance was made yesterday by House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro, House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, and House Assistant Minority Leader and ABS party-list Rep. Eugene de Vera as House Bill 4727 enters the stage where personal and committee amendments may be proposed.
The House leadership ended last Wednesday plenary debates on HB 4727 which seeks to restore the death penalty in the country’s criminal justice system.
Several pro-death penalty lawmakers have been pushing for the inclusion of at least 21 crimes as punishable with death but the House supermajority voted to reduce the number to just four – rape, plunder, treason, and drug related cases.
Castro admitted that there is still likelihood that additional criminal offenses will be proposed for inclusion when the amendments proceedings start.
“But we will stand by what the majority agreed upon during the caucus. These proposed amendments will be turned down,” said Castro.
Fariñas and De Vera agreed that the probability of putting more death penalty crimes to the list already approved by majority of the lawmakers is “very low” if not “zero.”
“Low probability since the decision to have the four offenses only was lengthily debated and overwhelmingly agreed upon during our majority caucus,” Fariñas said.
De Vera said the public may expect amendments to be limited to “style, typographical errors, and form.”
(Ben R. Rosario)