Sen. Manny Pacquiao said he considers drug trafficking a heinous crime. File photo
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Tuesday called for the reimposition of the death penalty anew saying a it should focus on drug trafficking violations.
For Pacquiao, drug traffickers deserve death penalty because he considers their acts heinous crimes.
The senator said he filed Senate Bill 185 or the “Act to impose the death penalty and increase the penalty on certain dangerous crimes, amending for that purpose other special penal laws and for other purposes” because the country is facing immense challenges from trafficking and drug abuse.
He said these crimes have created an emergency situation that now merits urgent action.
“On a personal level, I can forgive. However, the heinous crime of drug trafficking is committed not just against a person but against the nation. Drug traffickers deserve death penalty,” he said in his opening statement at the Senate hearing into proposals to revive the death penalty.
Pacquiao authored three separate death penalty bills on heinous crimes involving dangerous drugs, kidnapping and aggravated rape. He however said the death penalty must focus on drug trafficking because he believes combining it with other crimes will complicate the definition of heinous crime.
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He said a separate death penalty bill will be unburdened by the lengthy consideration of other offenses. Pacquiao added that the Senate cannot allow the compelling nature of imposing death penalty on drug trafficking to be weighed down by less compelling reasons for other offenses.
“It is more beneficial and practicable if we do it on a per crime basis and not bundle it with other crimes…To bundle it with other crimes will dilute arguments and complicate definitions in determining whether a particular crime is heinous or not because offensive acts may be of different characters,” Pacquiao said.
“Kailangan na nating magpasa na pupugsa punto por punto sa lumalala pa rin nating problema sa droga,” he added.
Pacquiao cited a Dangerous Drugs Board statement in 2011 that 80 percent of crimes are drug-related. A Reuters report in October 2016 said that government officials "could not say where the data came from to back up" that particular claim.
Pacquiao then enumerated some related new headlines to back his claims.
It can be recalled that Pacquiao visited the Filipina death-row inmate Mary Jane Veloso in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to show support for her in July 2015. Veloso was convicted of drug trafficking but was granted a last-minute temporary reprieve.
During the proclamation of elected senators last May, Pacquiao already said he favors the return of the death penalty saying capital punishment is actually based on the Bible.