DURING HIS fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call for both Houses of Congress to pass a law reimposing the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
There is no doubt, Senators Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go are highly-identified with President Rodrigo Duterte. Thus, government critics would surely say these two are expected to support the President’s appeal to revive discussions for the reimposition of the death penalty, specially for crimes attended by drug use.
I do not know these senators personally and vice versa. I am also not a DDS. But I do support and understand the President’s appeal for the return of the death penalty for heinous crimes involving illegal drugs.
A former military officer, law enforcer, Bureau of Corrections chief and once the country’s “top cop” as head of the Philippine National Police, Sen. Dela Rosa definitely knows what he is talking about.
“I cannot, and will never be, at peace as I continue to witness, with so much desolation, the sufferings of our countrymen and women in the hands of drug-crazed individuals,” Dela Rosa said in his privilege speech supporting the President’s pronouncements.
Dela Rosa stressed how “the country has witnessed the horrors of increasing crime rates particularly those that involve drug trafficking.”
Go, on the other hand, filed Senate Bill No. 207 sometime last year. It sought to reimpose the death penalty for heinous crimes involving illegal drugs and plunder, by amending Republic Act No. 9346 which abolished the death penalty.
“Illegal and dangerous drugs have been a recurring cause of suffering for families and individuals in the country, and that there is no question that this societal problem can destroy the basic institution of the family…As President Duterte said in his State of the Nation Address, this measure will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs,” Go stated.
Notably, his bill put emphasis on the sufferings that illegal drugs had brought to families.
Being in the media industry and having continued covering my beats despite the pandemic, I am disheartened by the fact that those involved in illegal drug activities did not stop their thing and continued their despicable acts amid the COVID-19 situation.
Even during and height of the community quarantine, there are still reports of arrests and seizures made by the police related to illegal drugs.
Nearly all other crimes took a rest with only violation of ordinances on face masks and quarantine reported in viber groups.
Based on Go’s statements, the anti-narcotic operatives were able to seize millions of pesos worth of illegal drugs and arrest these drug offenders in separate instances from March to May of this year.
Note that during this period, the country is clearly in the thick of a community quarantine as government, both national and local, had their hands full trying to stem the spread of COVID-19 and attending to those who got infected.
Dela Rosa said: “Were it not for the highly-sensitive intelligence work of our PNP and the PDEA, and their close coordination with other law enforcement agencies, these voluminous drugs would have found their way to numerous drug crazed individuals, many of whom have derived an enormous amount of money by trading these illegal substances.” I totally agree.
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