‘EU envoys may remove preferential tariffs if PH revives death penalty’
Senator Francis Escudero said some European Union (EU) ambassadors are threatening to remove the preferential tariff rates to the Philippines if the country would restore the death penalty.
“Personally ang position ko ay maliwanag kaugnay ng death penalty, against at tutol ako dito. At may mga nakausap nga ako na mga ambassadors ng EU na nagsasabi na tatanggalin nila ‘yung preferential tariff rates ng Pilipinas kung ibabalik natin ang death penalty,” Escudero said at a weekly forum in the Senate on Thursday.
(Personally, my position is clear regarding death penalty, I’m against it. And I was able to talk to ambassadors of the EU saying they’d remove their preferential tariff rates with the Philippines if we revive the death penalty.)
“Ang sabi ko, ang sagot ko, sana’y ipagpaliban nila muna yung pasyang ‘yun hangga’t hindi actual na pinapatupad ‘yung death penalty laban sa isang tao,” he said.
(I told them, I hope they delay this decision until the death penalty is actually implemented against a person.)
The senator said he explained to the ambassadors that it would take long before the death penalty could be restored even if the proposal gets the approval of both chambers of Congress.
The proposed measure had already been approved in the House of Representatives but remained pending in the Senate.
“Bakit? Ipasa man namin ‘yan, pumasa man ‘yan sa Kongreso at Senado, tiyak ko may mag ku-question niyan sa Korte Suprema. Ewan ko kung gano katagal mabibinbin ‘yung kaso ‘yun sa Korte Suprema,” said Escudero, who is part of the Senate majority bloc.
(Why? Even if we pass it, if it passes in the Congress and Senate, I’m sure someone will question it in the Supreme Court. I don’t know how long it will stay pending in the Supreme Court.)
Besides, the senator said, it would take five to 10 years before a court can rule on a case and by that time, President Rodrigo Duterte’s term had already expired even before an accused is sentenced to death.
“Kaya paliwanag ko sa mga EU ambassadors, sana hangga’t hindi actual na pinapatupad, huwag muna silang padalos-dalos sa kanilang pagpapasya, dahil mahaba pa nga ika nga ang kwento, bago tuluyang mapatupad laban sa isang Pilipino,” he said.
(So my explanation to the EU ambassadors is, I hope that until it’s actually implemented, they aren’t helter-skelter with their decision because it will take a very long time before the death penalty could be imposed on a Filipino.)
Escudero said he was able to talk to the French ambassador when he applied for a Shengen visa while the German ambassador had paid a visit to him at his office a month or two months ago.
Contrary to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon’s earlier claim, Escudero said the proposal had a chance of getting the approval of the Senate.
Drilon earlier said the death penalty was already dead in the chamber as majority or 13 senators would likely vote against it.
“Hindi ako naniniwalang patay na sa Senado (ang death penalty ) at sana hindi niya isipin or sabihin ‘yan dahil baka mamaya mag-relax na siya at wala nang gawin kaugnay sa kanyang position kung tutol nga ba siya sa death penalty or hindi. Basta sa panig at parte ko, nananatiling pareho ang position ko: tutol ako dito,” Escudero said.
(I don’t believe that the death penalty is dead in the Senate and I hope they don’t think or say this because they might relax and not make any actions related to their position whether they’re against the death penalty or not. As for me, my position stays the same: I’m against this.)
So when asked if the proposal has a chance of getting the approval of the Senate, the senator said: “Meron. Meron (There is a chance).”
He said majority of senators would likely support the death penalty if the death penalty would be imposed on high level drug trafficking only. JE/rga
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