Death penalty bill vs foreign drug traffickers moves to House plenary
MANILA, Philippines – A bill that imposes possible death penalty against foreign drug traffickers in the country advances to the plenary in the House of Representatives.
In a statement on Wednesday, Iligan City Representative Vicente Belmonte Jr, who chairs the dangerous drugs committee, said the panel approved the bill for plenary passage in a move to deter foreign drug traffickers in the country.
House Bill No. 1213 imposes on the violator the “higher prescribed penalty,” including death, under the law of the foreign drug trafficker’s country, amending for this purpose Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, the statement read.
The authors Mindanao solons Rufus and Maximo Rodriguez said it is unfair that Filipinos caught drug trafficking abroad face death penalty while foreign traffickers in the Philippines can only be meted with life imprisonment at the most.
Death penalty was abolished in the country when Republic Act 9346 or “An Act Prohibiting the imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines” was passed in 2006.
The authors said the abolition of death penalty enabled foreign nationals to build their drug laboratories in the country.
Under the bill, convicted foreign nationals would be meted the “penalty prescribed by the alien’s national law for the act committed or the penalty prescribed by this Act, whichever is higher.”
“(I)f the act committed is not punishable in the alien’s national law, then the provisions of this Act shall apply,” the bill read.
The bill also said that in case death penalty is not imposed under the national law of the convicted alien, the trafficker would be deployed without further proceedings after serving sentence.
“The penalty of death, if applicable, shall be imposed despite the prohibition of the imposition of the death penalty in the Philippines,” the bill read.
Once in the plenary, the bill would be subject to amendments on the floor before it is approved on third and final reading.
In the 15th Congress, a similar bill was passed by the House and transmitted to the Senate, where it was not acted upon.