Biazon: Death penalty discussion ‘unnecessary distraction’ amid COVID-19 fight

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The discussion amid the COVID-19 pandemic could only be “unnecessary distraction” in the country’s fight against the virus, said Muntinlupa City Representative .

Biazon requested panel chair Vicente Veloso III to exclude his House Bill 741, which is one of the 12 bills aiming to reinstate the capital punishment, from the House Committee on justice deliberations.

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“I believe that at this point, a contentious social issue such as death penalty may be an unnecessary distraction in the effort to consolidate public and private sector support and focus against the pandemic,” he said.

“A socially and politically divisive debate on death penalty will be detrimental to the Heal as One mantra. The public expects Congress to give priority to measures that directly address the public health emergency we are currently facing,” he added.

The solon also noted the value of strengthening the government’s investigative and evidence-gathering ability before reinstating the death penalty.

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Also read: No compelling reason to reimpose death penalty: CHR commissioner

“I believe that this investigation tool will contribute to strengthening cases against drug traffickers, particularly those in the high levels of drug syndicates, and negate the argument that the innocent could become victims of injustice and be subject to capital punishment,” he said.

Biazon also said the discussion on the death penalty would be intense and full of debates, so the COVID-19 crisis should not limit the venue.

He added he pushed for the death penalty for high-level drug traffickers because it is “the appropriate and commensurate penalty for those who benefit from the ruin, misery, and death in people’s lives.”

“However, I also believe that there’s a time for everything, even in legislation. With two more years remaining in the mandate of the 18th Congress and the term of the President, I believe there is still time for the consideration of the bill after the pandemic has been placed under control or has died down,” he added.

The House Committee on Justice resumed its hearings on the pending death penalty bills at the Congress over a week after President Rodrigo Duterte renewed his call to reimpose the death penalty for drug-related offenses during his fifth State of the Nation Address.

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