Busted: Death penalty bill still has to be filed, so there was nothing for Duterte to approve

Several Facebook users have been sharing a blog article claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte has already approved death penalty in the Philippines.

Death Penalty Bill

If you click on the link to the blog article itself, you’ll see a YouTube video of various clips of Duterte and Senator Manny Pacquiao talking about the death penalty. And the video was even captioned, “President Duterte decides death penalty is final starting July 1, 2016.”

Duterte has been repeatedly talking about re-imposing the death penalty by hanging, saying that he wants it to seek retribution against the criminals.

“I believe in retribution. Why? You should pay. When you kill someone, rape, you should die,” Duterte said.

However, nothing of the sort happened on July 1.


After his inauguration, his first Executive Order was to restructure the Office of the President. He assigned 12 agencies under the management of Cabinet Secretary Jun Evasco Jr. These agencies are tasked to assess existing poverty reduction programs and come up with projects to reduce poverty.

Moreover, the 17th Congress still has to convene this July 25. The lawmakers are still rushing bills, especially Duterte’s pet bills, such as reviewing the Constitution, stopping labor contractualization, imposing death penalty for heinous crimes, and granting Duterte emergency powers, among others.

Two senators, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Vicente Sotto III, are filing separate bills, citing a wide range of heinous crimes to be punished by death. These crimes vary from terrorism to murder, rape, drug-related offenses, human trafficking, and even treason and plunder.

According to Lacson, there is a rise in the number of heinous crimes committed in recent years, noting that life imprisonment may not have been a strong enough deterrent to criminals, hence the need to bring back capital punishment.

Sotto filed a bill to revive death penalty in the 16th Congress, but did not gain support from other lawmakers. He is confident now, though, about the restoration of capital punishment after Duterte has expressed his desire to fight criminality with death penalty.

However, both senators filed for death penalty by lethal injection, which is in contrast to Duterte’s proposed death by hanging. Lacson has previously said that “death by hanging is a bit too medieval.”

According to Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, whose name has been listed as a potential Senate President, said that he is targeting a three-month timeframe for the Senate to approve the re-imposition of the death penalty. He expects a bill to be filed by July and approved by October, around three months after Duterte’s June 30 inauguration.

Pimentel added that the bill would be subject to debates by his fellow lawmakers, adding that he does not have the numbers as to how many senators might support it.

This meant that the bill for imposing death penalty has yet to be filed this July 25, when the Congress convenes and despite Pimentel’s target to vote on the bill by October, long debates among the Senators might make them miss that eyed deadline. So Duterte has no death penalty bill to approve just yet.


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