HOUSE Deputy Minority Leader Harry Roque on Thursday described as “plain and simple cowardice” the Super Majority coalition’s move to pass the death penalty bill through a voice vote or “viva voce.”

“They do not want their votes to be known by their constituents and they do not want their votes recorded in history. It’s plain and simple cowardice,” the Kabayan party-list congressman said in a text message.

“Definitely, it is not a resounding victory. Many of them are bothered by their conscience,” said Roque.

On Wednesday, motions made by anti-death penalty lawmakers for nominal voting were repeatedly denied by Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of Batangas and House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Bondoc of Pampanga.

Without nominal voting, there was no record of who were the lawmakers for and against the death penalty during the vote for second reading approval on Wednesday.

The House passed a bill that imposes capital punishment only on manufacturers and traders of illegal drugs.

Rep. Teodoro Baguilat of the Liberal Party said the viva voce vote showed that administration lawmakers were afraid of losing their committee chairmanships if they voted against the death penalty.

“It goes both ways. Those who will eventually vote against death penalty are hesitant to show their true colors to a vengeful majority leadership. Likewise, the cowed majority members who are voting for death penalty are ashamed of going against their conscience and belief system so they’d rather hide behind the viva voce mode,” Baguilat said.

House rules however state that nominal voting is required for third reading approval.

Suffrage and electoral reforms panel chairman Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list said those for or against the bill would be known on March 8 when the bill goes through a vote on third reading.

“This is where each and every member will be accountable and show their vote for the death penalty bill,” Tugna said.

Reacting to the House vote, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, a former Camarines Sur congresswoman, asked: Why impose death penalty when it doesn’t stop crime?

“There is no empirical data showing that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime. Death penalty did not reduce crime incidents. Since death penalty does not improve the situation, then why do we still have to implement it?” Robredo said in an interview after the turnover of fishing boats in Maribojoc, Bohol as part of her office’s “Angat Buhay” program.

Limiting the death penalty to drug traffickers and manufacturers doesn’t make the measure acceptable, she said.
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A lawmaker on Monday claimed the ruling coalition has mustered enough votes to pass the death penalty bill in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Stephen Paduano of Abang Lingkod party-list made the statement ahead of the caucus of administration lawmakers in connection with the plenary debates on the death penalty measure.

“The ‘yes’ vote [for death penalty]in the House has now the [majority]number. I’m a member of the Visayan bloc. Last week we had a meeting. Out of 41 congressmen out of the Visayas bloc that’s headed by Congressman Benitez, only six of us will vote ‘no,’” Paduano told reporters.

He was referring to Rep. Alfredo Benitez of Negros Occidental.

“For the party-list coalition [of which I am also a member], more than half of the 40 of us will vote ‘yes,’” Paduano added.

The Super Majority bloc in the House of Representatives is composed of the ruling PDP-Laban, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, National Unity Party, Liberal Party, Lakas-CMD and the party-list coalition.

Paduano, however, won’t vote for death penalty even if he belongs to the Super Majority.

“I believe everyone deserves a second chance. That is my faith and that is my religious belief. I believe congressmen should vote based on their conscience in this issue,” Paduano said.

Buhay party-list Rep. Jose Atienza, who opposes the bill, said the House should not be a stamp pad of the administration and should not blindly follow the orders of the President.

In a forum in Manila, he said the bill would only benefit the well-off as the justice system is stacked against the poor.

“As long as the criminal justice system is corrupt, we will not be able to fight effectively, criminality with death penalty,” he said.

Death for plunder, treason, drugs

The proposed death penalty bill will be amended to spare convicts of drug possession from execution, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte said Monday.

Fariñas made the announcement after the caucus of administration lawmakers.

Crimes punishable by death penalty will include plunder, treason, and drug-related offenses except drug possession.

“Upon our agreement, we will introduce an amendatory bill. We removed [drug]possession,” Fariñas told reporters.

Under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, a drug possession offense is punishable by life imprisonment to death when a person carries: 10 grams or more of opium; 10 grams or more of morphine; 10 grams or more of heroin; 10 grams or more of cocaine or cocaine hydrochloride; 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu”; 10 grams or more of marijuana resin or marijuana resin oil; 500 grams or more of marijuana; 10 grams or more of other dangerous drugs such as, but not limited to, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDA) or “ecstasy”, paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA), trimethoxyamphetamine (TMA), lysergic acid diethylamine (LSD), gamma hydroxyamphetamine (GHB), and those similarly designed or newly introduced drugs and their derivatives..

If a person carries illegal drugs less than the threshold, the punishment is reduced to life imprisonment.

The death penalty bill was abolished in 2006 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This meant that the harshest punishment for drug possession offenses, regardless of the amount of drugs in possession of, is lifetime imprisonment.

Explaining the limited scope of the bill, Fariñas said: “The compelling reasons are present in these crimes. We should send a message to our people that giving aid and comfort to the enemy (treason) is a heinous crime which would merit death penalty, depending on the circumstances.”

“We also maintained that plunder is covered [in the bill],” Fariñas added.

However, he did not specify the threshold on when drug possession would be upgraded to a drug trafficking offense.
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The move to introduce changes in the 1987 Constitution via a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) has begun to snowball in the House of Representatives (HOR).

This, after two House Deputy Speakers in Cebu-3rd district Rep. Gwen Garcia and Batangas 2nd district Rep. Raneo Abu both withdrew their respective measures calling for a Constitutional Convention (Con-Con), which was the other popular mode for Charter change (Cha-cha) among congressmen.

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MANILA, Oct. 6 - The Department of Finance (DOF) envisions its comprehensive tax reform plan to be the catalyst of an ambitious government program to raise an extra P1 trillion yearly for unparalleled public investments geared to free some 10 million Filipinos from poverty in six years’ time and eventually transform the Philippines into a high-income state by 2040.

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Part 1 of 3

There are no clearer marching orders given to Congress than the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte in his recent SONA that the Philippines should adopt a federal-parliamentary government modeled after France, with a “strong” President. Federalism was a major rallying cry for then presidential candidate Digong (the other was peace and order). We are looking at a leader who is keeping his word.
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Monday, 30 May 2016 14:07


BY the time this comes out, Congress, acting as the National Board of Canvassers, has already proclaimed the winners of the May 2016 elections. If President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was a no-show, it ushered in a break from tradition and the start of a new norm. We will have to get use to it as every change brings in a lot of adjustment. Clearly, Duterte wants to break from traditional mold, which could be good for the country in the end.
Published in Commentaries
Monday, 23 May 2016 11:10

Alvarez eyes con-com for federalism

MANILA, Philippines – Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez prefers to have a constitutional commission or con-com draft Charter revisions that will change the form of government to a federal system.

Alvarez, who is incoming president Rodrigo Duterte’s choice to be speaker of the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, said yesterday he liked the move of the late president Corazon Aquino to form a con-com that wrote the 1987 Constitution.
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Thursday, 12 May 2016 09:04

TRIVIA: Anthropomorphic Nouns

Believing that the best education leads to the best understanding,
I thought you might find this interesting.
Anthropomorphic Nouns

I thought this might be boring, but stick with it. You'll love the ending.
We are all familiar with a
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