Sen. Ronald dela Rosa on Wednesday reiterated his push for the bill reviving the death penalty to be passed despite the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.
Dela Rosa said that the Senate can “multi-task” and prioritize the death penalty bill while also addressing the pandemic in the country.
He gave the statement after opposition Sen. Francis Pangilinan questioned the timing of the push for death penalty, asking how the reimposition of capital punishment could help solve the Philippines’ high unemployment rate and the continuous spread of COVID-19.
“Itong ating Senado ay puwede naman mag multi-tasking (Our Senate can multi-task.)… It (COVID-19) doesn’t stop us from performing our mandate na gumawa ng batas pertaining to other pressing issues,” Dela Rosa answered.
“When you talk about priority, number 1 priority ang COVID-19. Sa akin, baka second na lang itong bill na ito (For me, maybe this bill is second), but it does not preclude us from taking up this bill,” he added.
Further, he believes that Philippines’ drug problem is also a global pandemic in itself.
“Itong aking issue na nire-raise ngayon (The issue I am raising now), this is also considered a global pandemic: ang drug problem,” he said.
Dela Rosa started discussions on the death penalty bills in the Senate through a privilege speech, 2 days after Duterte urged Congress to fast-track the passage of the measure.
“In the 2019 elections, I ran with a single platform: that is the reimposition of death penalty,” he said.
“Hundreds of people are inquiring in my Facebook account, asking ‘What happened to death penalty bakit hindi hini-hear (why isn’t it being heard)?'” he said.
Duterte has also been advocating for death penalty’s revival for those convicted of drug-related crimes.