MANILA, Philippines —Sen. Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa wants the reimposition of death penalty, possibly through firing squad, only for high profile drug offenders.
In his first Senate Bill 226, or "An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Crimes Punishable under Republic Act No. 9165 Otherwise Known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002," dela Rosa said capital punishment should be imposed on person or persons involved in the importation and manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals and cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs.
The measure amended Republic Act 9346, or the Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines.
"To hamper the growth of foreign syndicates and to address the illicit drug trafficking prevailing in the region, the proposed legislation aims to revive and impose death penalty for those fearless foreigners and citizens of this country who will be found guilty of violating specific provisions of RA 9165," dela Rosa said.
Citing the 2009 United Nations World Drug Report of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, dela Rosa said the Philippines is number five in the world in seizures of crystal methamphetamine, or shabu and still one of the major sources in East and Southeast Asia and Oceania .
The report also stated that the manufacturing of illicit drugs in the country is being done in industrial-sized laboratories operated by transnational organized crime and foreign nationals as chemists.
A report from the Pacific Strategies and Assesments further described the Philippines as a "transhipment point" and a "key producer of synthetic drugs for all of Asia."
Earlier, Sens. Manny Pacquiao and Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, filed similar bills seeking to reinstate capital punishment in the Philippines.
While Pacquiao's SB 189 was similar to dela Rosa's proposal, Go's SB 207 includes plunder in the crimes punishable by death denalty.
Dela Rosa proposed to impose a penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million on those found guilty of importing and manufacturing illegal drugs.
The same shall be imposed on a person found guilty of planting or cultivating marijuana, opium poppy or any other plant classified as dangerous drugs.
"In the case of medical laboratories and medical research centers which cultivate or culture marijuana, opium poppy and other plants, or materials of such dangerous drugs for medical experiments and research purposes, or for the creation of new types of medicines, the Board shall prescribe the necessary implementing guidelines for the proper cultivation, culture, handling, experimentation and disposal of such plants and materials," the measure stated.
The former police general said if he has his way, he wanted death penalty through firing squad for high-profile drug offenders.
"Sa BuCor (Bureau of Corrections), malaki naman ang grounds sa Bilibid. Kung may facility dun for electric chair, meron din sa lethal injection, maglagay tayo ng firing squad range," dela Rosa said.
He also said he was hopeful the church and his colleagues would support his proposal since it is not "anti-poor"
"Kaya nga ang aking bill ay sa drug traffickers lang. Kasi noon, hindi naipasa dahil sabi anti-poor. Wala naman drug trafficker na mahirap, big time ang mga ito," he said.
Dela Rosa also said he will talk to Go not to include plunder in his proposal.
Photo from Robert "Bato" Dela Rosa Facebook page