Press Release
July 10, 2022

Dela Rosa trusts the judiciary in handling death penalty cases

SENATOR Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa is confident that the judiciary has safeguards in trials of cases punishable by death that will ensure accurate determination of guilt.

"May safeguards 'yung judiciary pagdating sa (court) trials. Sisiguruhin naman nila na hindi mabitay 'yung mga hindi karapat-dapat na mabitay. We have enough trust and confidence in the judicial system," he said in an interview on Friday with "The Source" over CNN Philippines.

Dela Rosa reiterated his death penalty bill will only apply to high-level drug trafficking.

"That is why this bill is only concentrating on high-level drug trafficking because we don't want this bill to be considered as anti-poor, wherein they are claiming that only the poor will suffer the death penalty because they don't have the money to defend themselves in court."

The former top cop added, "That is why we limit ourselves in this bill to high-level drug trafficking because there is no high-level drug trafficker who is small-time... These Chinese drug lords are wealthy enough to defend themselves. So, I don't think this is anti-poor because we don't include the street-level drug pushers in this bill," he said.

Dela Rosa has filed the death penalty bill in the 19th Congress and was confident "it will gain traction" this time because Senator Francis Tolentino, incoming chairperson of the Senate justice committee, has already assured him that it will be given attention.

During the 18th Congress, eleven death penalty bills were filed but were not passed in the Senate since the chairperson then of the Senate justice committee was anti-death penalty.

Dela Rosa, the pioneer implementer of the Duterte administration's campaign against illegal drugs, said if given the chance to speak with newly elected-President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., he will ask the Chief Executive to certify the bill as urgent.

Dela Rosa said that when he was the Director of the Bureau of Corrections, he had talked to big-time drug lord inmates who were the ones who recommended the re-imposition of the death penalty if the country wants to succeed in eradicating the trafficking of illegal drugs.

"My experience as (a former) Director of the Bureau of Corrections, I had personally talked to drug lords inside the bilibid who are still continuing on with drug trafficking business despite being jailed and one of them told me - 'if you really want to stop drug trafficking, sir, into your country', this is a Chinese drug lord that I was talking to, 'you have to institute back the death penalty for drug trafficking,'" he said.

Dela Rosa added that in other countries like Indonesia, mere drug possession, regardless of quantity, is already punishable by the death penalty.

"Bitay ka kaagad doon. But, dito sa atin, 'yung trafficking lang ng malalaking volume," Dela Rosa said.

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