Lacson bill makes terrorism, human trafficking, plunder, treason, drug-related crimes punishable by death

A wide range of heinous crimes ranging from drug-related offenses to treason, terrorism and human trafficking will be punishable by death, according to a bill filed by Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson.

Lacson, who headed the Philippine National Police from 1999 to 2001, noted an alarming surge of heinous crimes in recent years has shown life imprisonment, in lieu of death penalty, is not a deterrent to grave offenders.

“Hence, to reinstate public order and the rule of law, there is an impending need to revisit and re-impose the death penalty on certain heinous crimes which as ratiocinated by R.A. 7659 or the Death Penalty Law, ‘is appropriately necessary due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes which has resulted not only in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property but also affected the nation’s efforts towards sustainable economic development and prosperity while at the same time has undermined the people’s faith in the Government and the latter’s ability to maintain peace and order in the country,’” he said. 

[Read: Senate Bill 42, An Act Re-Instituting the Death Penalty in the Philippines]

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Citing PNP data in 2015, he said 75 percent of the most heinous crimes were drug-related while 65 percent of inmates in prisons are either accused or convicted of drug-related crimes.

The PNP’s Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management has documented 9,646 murder cases; 31,741 cases of robbery; and, 10,298 rape cases in 2015. These translate to an average crime incidence of a murder every 54 minutes, a robbery every 16 minutes, and a rape case every 51 minutes.

From January to May 2016, he noted the PNP recorded “a staggering number” of crime incidents including 3,615 murder cases, 3,996 rape cases, and 9,971 robbery cases.

On the other hand, Lacson assured he will listen to arguments for and against the death penalty bill during public hearings in the Senate.

“Ako naman ma-commit ko, tuloy-tuloy ang hearing na gagawin ko kung sa committee (on public order and illegal drugs ire-refer),” he said in an interview on DWIZ radio on July 2.

Crimes covered

Lacson’s bill sought to re-impose the death penalty on the following crimes:

* Treason: any Filipino who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her enemies shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death, and shall pay a fine of up to P100,000

* Qualified piracy: where offenders seized a vessel by boarding or firing upon it; abandoned their victims without means of saving themselves; or when the crime is accompanied by murder, homicide, physical injuries or rape

* Qualified Bribery: if a public law enforcement officer refrains from arresting or prosecuting an offender who has committed a crime punishable by reclusion perpetua and/or death in consideration of any offer, promise, gift or present. If the public officer asks or demands such a gift, he or she shall suffer the death penalty

* Parricide

* Murder

* Infanticide: any person who shall kill any child less than three days faces the penalty provided for parricide

* Rape: when committed with a deadly weapon or by two or more persons; when the victim has become insane; when the rape is attempted and a homicide is committed; when the victim is less than 18 years old and the offender is a parent, ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim; when the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities or any law enforcement or penal institution; when the rape is committed in full view of the spouse, parent, any of the children or other relatives within the third civil degree of consanguinity; when the victim is a religious and is personally known as such by the offender; when the victim is a child below seven years old

– rape is also punishable by death when committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or its paramilitary units or the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency or penal institution, when the offender took advantage of his position to facilitate the commission of the crime; when the victim suffered permanent physical mutilation or disability due to the rape; when the offender knew of the pregnancy of the victim; and when the offender knew of the victim’s mental disability, emotional disorder and/or physical handicap

* Kidnapping and serious illegal detention: if the kidnapping lasted more than three days; shall have been committed simulating public authority; or if any serious physical injuries is suffered by the victim; or if the victim is a minor

* Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons

* Destructive Arson

* Plunder

* Drug-related cases: importation, trading, manufacture and possession of dangerous drugs, including the cultivation of plants classified as dangerous drugs; as well as unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs

– the death penalty may apply to a public officer or employee who misappropriates, misapplies or fails to account for confiscated, seized or surrendered dangerous drugs, or plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment

* Terrorism: acts including piracy, rebellion, coup d’etat, murder, kidnapping, crimes involving destruction, arson, violation of the Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste Control Act of 1990, hijacking, piracy and highway robbery, and illegal possession of firearms, ammunition of explosives – which create a condition of widespread panic among the populace, to force government to give in to an unlawful demand

* Carnapping

* Trafficking in persons: including use of trafficked persons for prostitution

* Illegal recruitment: if it constitutes economic sabotage

Lethal injection

Lacson’s bill pushed lethal injection as the mode of execution, with the director of the Bureau of Corrections taking steps to ensure the injection to be administered will cause the convict’s instantaneous death.

The death sentence shall be carried out not later than one year after the judgment has become final and executory, but is without prejudice to the exercise by the President of the executive clemency powers at all times.

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