WATCH | Drilon predicts death of death penalty bill, will ask court to let De Lima vote on measure

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Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 12:55 p.m.) Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon is predicting the death of the bill restoring the death penalty, saying most of his colleagues in the chamber are likely to vote against the measure.

At the same time, Drilon said they might ask the courts to allow detained Senator Leila de Lima to attend the plenary so she can vote on the death penalty bill and another controversial measure, that seeking to postpone the barangay elections scheduled for October.

“By my own estimate, there are at least thirteen senators who will block the passage of the death penalty bill, including the six-member minority group and seven from the majority block,” Drilon said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It’s dead and the chances of resurrecting it before we even bring it to a vote are very slim, if not zero, at least in this Congress,” he added.

Aside from Drilon, the Senate minority are De Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV — all members of the Liberal Party — Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV and Risa Hontiveros.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, who is also an LP member, is against the restoration of capital punishment as well, Drilon added.

“We are ready to lead the fight against the death penalty bill. We believe that a death penalty law (is) not and will never be an effective deterrence against crime,” he said. “It will be detrimental to the poor who will be made victims of this cruel and inhumane punishment due to the inefficiencies of our judicial system.”

Drilon noted that only five senators have openly indicated, through media, their support for the return of the death penalty: Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senators Manny Pacquiao, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Cynthia Villar.

“It does not appear to have the votes needed. It is the end of the road for the proposal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Drilon said De Lima, who was arrested and is detained at Camp Crame while awaiting trial for drug trading charges filed against her by the Department of Justice, is merely “physically restrained” and not suspended from discharging he duties as senator.

He noted that other prominent detainees have been granted furloughs, citing former senator Jinggoy Estrada, who was allowed to attend the 80th birthday celebration for his father, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, and former senator Bong Revilla, who was allowed to visit his father.

Both ex-senators are being tried on plunder charges stemming from the P10-billion pork barrel scam.

Drilon said “on the same reasoning, the court should allow Senator De Lima to perform her task as a senator.”

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