Philippines

Death penalty, health bills among priorities of senators-elect

Death penalty, health bills among priorities of senators-elect
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The newly elected senators on Wednesday have floated the reimposition of the death penalty and some health-related legislation among their priority agenda in the Senate after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proclaimed the 2019 midterm elections’ winners in Pasay City.

While saying he is “pro-life”, newly proclaimed lawmaker Ramon “Bong” Revilla said he considers supporting the bill to reinstate capital punishment.

“Pag-aralan nating mabuti ‘yan. Ako, ever since naman pro-life, pero siyempre i-consider din natin kung ano ‘yong epekto ng ginagawa nitong mga tao, minsan abusado talaga (I will study it carefully. Ever since I am a pro-life but of course, I have to consider also the behavior of the people, some are really abusive),” he said in an interview.

The same goes for neophyte Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, the country’s former top cop, who said he would push for the reimposition of the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III had earlier floated the possibility of the restoration of capital punishment for high-level drug trafficking entering the next Senate, which is among the Duterte administration’s pet bills.

Meanwhile, Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, garnering the third highest numbers of votes at 20.6 million, said he would focus on health and education-related bills.

“I want to improve health services throughout the country. I will focus on health and education and I will continue the campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte against corruption in the government, criminality, and illegal drugs,” he told reporters.

Senator Francis Tolentino, on the other hand, said he will push for more disaster-related legislations and the amendment of the local government code.

‘Rubber stamp tag rejected’

Dela Rosa, Go, Revilla and re-elected Senators Sonny Angara and Grace Poe as well as new Senator Imee Marcos, who ranked eighth in the 2019 senatorial elections, all assured of an independent Senate.

“Rubber stamp? Definitely no. I am cooperative and supportive, but not under the dictates of Malacañang,” dela Rosa said.

Revilla echoed similar sentiments saying he will make sure the upper chamber would stay independent.

Go, for his part, said he will maintain independence even as he supports the legislative agenda of the executive department.

“Of course, magiging independent po ako subalit susuportahan ko po ang legislative agenda ni Pangulong Duterte dahil alam ko po na ginagawa lang niya ang tama (I will be an independent but will support the legislative agenda of President Duterte because I know he is just doing the right thing),” he said.

In an interview, Angara said he believes “most of the senators are independent-minded.”

“We want to help the President succeed, we want to help the people also, they expect the independence of senators,” he said. (PNA)

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