Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Alvarez sinigurad na kasama pa rin ang Plunder sa Death Penalty!

Alvarez said there's "more reason to include plunder" amid the brewing alleged irregularities in contracts involving government officials, like the deal between the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and Vanderwood Management Corporation.

During a congressional hearing, Alvarez scolded PAGCOR officials and officers of the private company over the P3.2 billion, 15-year lease for space at the former Army and Navy Club near Roxas Boulevard in Manila, which is being converted into an entertainment and hotel facility.

He said he believes the contract was "really highly disadvantageous to the government."

"The Commission on Audit has findings that the contract should be stopped," he said.

Officers of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) in October last year filed plunder charges against former PAGCOR officials, lead by its former chairman and chief executive officer, Cristino Naguiat, over the deal.

In a separate news conference, opposition lawmakers urged the leadership anew to allow unhampered debates on the death penalty bill, in the wake of a ruling by the majority floor leader that each interpellator is only allowed one hour on the floor, for both the questions and the reply of the bill's sponsor.

"Intimidate, entice and gag constitute the trio of strategies employed by Speaker Alvarez and the majority leadership to pass, by hook or by crook, House Bill No. 4727 reimposing the death penalty," Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.

"Gagging Members who oppose the death penalty bill, or any measure for that matter, destroys the heart and soul of a deliberative assembly, which is free and untrammeled debates," he added.

Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza said the House leadership is "muddling the real issues under the bill" to make it more palatable to the lawmakers.

He said it did not make a difference when the House leadership said last week that the list of heinous crimes would no longer be meted the automatic death sentence.

"All of the crimes (in the list) are still punishable by death, it is still death penalty whether it is in the form of what some say killing someone softly," he said.

Lagman and Daza also raised the position made clear by 14 senators, who issued a resolution stating that any termination of a treaty should have the concurrence of the Senate.

The Senate earlier suspended hearings on the death penalty bill while awaiting legal opinion that would resolve questions on the Philippines' commitment to an international covenant that abolishes death penalty.

As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, the Philippines is committed to abolish the death penalty and not to reimpose it.

The Philippine ratified ICCPR in 1986 before the 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty; and the Second Optional Protocol in 2007, after the abolition of the death penalty under RA No. 9346.

"This development would have repercussions in the deliberations at the House because a measure becomes a law only with the concurrence of the two chambers," Lagman said.

"Because of this development, I am urging the House and the Senate leadership to meet in order to iron out this particular difference, otherwise, what we will do at the House will be an exercise in futility because, after all, the Senate will not approve it," Lagman added.




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