SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco has sought the inclusion of rape among crimes to be covered by the proposed reimposition of death penalty originally for drug-related charges only.
Velasco underscored the importance for lawmakers to consider rape during deliberations of pending measures calling for the reinstatement of the capital offense.
“With regard to (the restoration of) death penalty naman, ako po talaga medyo I am in agreement na kinakailangan natin ng death penalty but specifically against those committed to na may involvement ng drugs at yung rape,” Velasco told Daniel Manalastas over People’s Television (PTV4).
“’Yan ‘yung dalawang bagay as long as it’s connected with those two, talagang nasa puso ko ‘yan eh. Medyo hindi ko matanggap ‘yung mga ganyang pangyayari. I will push the death penalty for those two crimes,” Velasco stressed.
The Speaker had committed to pursue the reimposition of death penalty even before his assumption to the country’s fourth highest position.
President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte made several requests for Congress to pass a bill restoring the death penalty on drug-related charges.
Velasco explained that the proposal to reinstate death penalty is a good strategy to effectively deter heinous crimes.
“My point is to actually [to] stop or prevent ‘yung mga crimes na ganito (rape and illegal drugs). I think we need to reinforce, mas matindi ‘yung penalty [dapat] na binibigay sa mga krimen na ganito. Otherwise, makikita naman po natin ‘yung recent na mga nangyayari na parang binabalewala lang. So nakikita ko na kinakailangan talagang mas harsher ‘yung penalty so I don’t see kung anong dapat ikatakot. Kung hindi mo naman gagawin ‘yung krimen, you will not be subjected to the penalty,” Velasco pointed out.
Should the 18th Congress fail to pass the measure, Velasco said the next 19th Congress has all the time to deliberate the measure.
“Siguro in the coming months pa ‘yan [maipapasa]. If hindi natin makuha sa 18th Congress, [we] will push for it in the 19th Congress,” Velasco said.
“But at the end of the day ang tinitingnan talaga natin ngayon, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, eh ‘yung legislations na kinakailangan natin para makatulong sa ating mga kababayan. Alam naman natin na [bumabawi] na ang economy natin so kinakailangan natin ng mga batas na makakatulong para paganahin ang ekonomiya,” Velasco said.
While he favors Charter change, Velasco reiterated that there is not enough time to tackle it, especially now with the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Ang Charter change, gusto sana natin ito, however nakikita natin na medyo maikli na ang panahon. I think if we actually change the Charter, it would be in line with the President’s anti corruption drive. Sa tingin ko kasi never pa napapalitan itong Charter natin, and looking at it baka dito nga talaga ang problema. Ang dami ng pag-aaral na ginawa d’yan,” said Velasco.