Press Release
March 13, 2017

Drilon: LP, Senate minority vow to fight 'tooth and nail' against death penalty

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said that he and his fellow Liberal Party senators and members of the minority are ready to fight "tooth and nail" to block the bill re-imposing death penalty and the bill lowering the age of criminal responsibility.

"The Liberal Party senators and its allies will block at every opportunity the bill restoring capital punishment and the measure seeking to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility," Drilon said in a statement on Monday.

Drilon, LP's vice-chairman, was referring to LP President Francis Pangilinan, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Bam Aquino and Leila De Lima, and its allies, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

"The Liberal Party and its allies firmly believe that death penalty was not and will never be an effective deterrent to crime, even for drug-related offenses," Drilon said.

"It will be detrimental to the poor who will be made victims of this cruel and inhuman punishment owing to the inefficiencies of our judicial system," he said.

"We risk executing innocent people who do not have the money to hire experienced and competent lawyers. The reality is that, not everyone is afforded the same quality of criminal defense. This leaves the poor most vulnerable to wrongful execution", Drilon stressed.

The minority leader also said that the Senate minority strongly opposes lowering the age of criminal responsibility to nine, and vows to exert all efforts to prevent it from reaching the president's desk.

"Children should be educated, protected and nourished. If we see the need to place them in jail at such a tender age, it only means that we have failed them, we have failed ourselves."

Drilon, however, assured that the LP and the Senate minority would throw their support and even actively push for legislation that will promote the welfare of the common Filipino.

These include the passage of the Mental Health Act of 2017, Sagip-Saka Act of 2017, Anti-Discrimination Act, Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act, Telecommuting Act of 2017, and a measure that will punish hospitals and medical clinic that will refuse to administer medical treatment in emergency cases.

Drilon said that they would fight for the passage of the Pagkaing Pinoy Para sa Batang Pinoy Act and the Trabaho Center in Schools Act.

We will also push for the passage of the Revised Penal Code, the Corporation Code of the Philippines and a bill seeking to increase penalties for election offenses, Drilon noted.

Also included in their legislative agenda are proposed measures to increase the personnel economic relief allowance and cost of living allowance of government employees, provide survivorship benefits to the surviving legitimate spouse of deceased retired members of the Office of Solicitor General, increase the salary of government physicians, augment the supplies allowances of public school teachers, provide security of tenure for all casual and contractual government employees, and modernize practice of criminology and occupational therapy professions.

All these bills are already in the advance stages of legislation, he concluded.

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