'Converted' Lacson, Sotto Now Say No to Death Penalty

They've seen the light.
Photo/s: Video screenshot/Ping Lacson/Facebook

Presidential aspirant Sen. Panfilo Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday said they were no longer pushing for the restoration of death penalty as they found better ways to address drugs and criminality in the country.

Lacson, who filed a death penalty bill in 2019, said he was "converted" after watching the film "The Life of David Gale," which tells the story of a man who was executed for a crime he didn't commit.

"Namulat yung aking kaisipan na mas importante na ma-save yung buhay ng isang inosente na na-convict kesa doon sa mag-execute tayo ng talagang convicted at talagang napatunayang nagkasala," he told reporters.

"Nung tinimbang ko yun, sa tingin ko mas matimbang ma-save yung buhay nung wrongly convicted," he added.

Lacson filed his death penalty bill as he argued that the surge in heinous crimes in recent years showed that reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment "is not a deterrent to grave offenders."

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Now that his views on death penalty has changed, he said he was considering withdrawing the bill.

Sotto, who also authored a death penalty bill, also realized that the arguments of those against capital punishment made more sense, except for the crime of high-level drug trafficking.

Instead of capital punishment, Sotto proposed the creation of a remote national penitentiary for convicted high-level drug traffickers and other heinous criminals similar to Alcatraz in the United States.

"Mas mabuti yun kesa ipasa mo yung death penalty na hindi naman makapasa," he said.

Sotto also said the national penitentiary should be removed in Muntinlupa City and instead make it regional so that families of convicted criminals residing in far-flung areas could visit them.

In 2017, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the bill reimposing death penalty on seven drug-related offenses, but it failed to get the same approval in the Senate.

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