By: Remedios F. Marmoleño
I came across today (March 22) a news item on line which had to do with Mr. Trump’s efforts to repeal the law popularly known as Obamacare. The Republicans have been working on a bill that would replace Obamacare but it has been an uphill battle from the start. The US President was quoted as “promising that Republicans who vote against the bill will face political consequences.” Does the tenor of the promise sound familiar?
In our country the bill reinstating capital punishment is one of the hottest topics in our current national conversation. Let us remember that the death sentence was once in our laws but it was removed by an act of Congress after we signed an international agreement and joined several other countries that decided, after much deliberations in each country, that capital punishment was no longer to be applied as a judicial punishment.
After the Duterte administration took over our government on July 1 2016 among the bills that was on the top priority of the House was the reinstatement of capital punishment. As expected several groups took their positions pro or con. When the bill came before the House for the vote the Speaker was very clear about how he would look at those who would not vote in favor of the bill. They would lose their committee chairmanships. And that is what actually happened. I am not exactly crying for former president GMA who is now a Pampanga representative, but she lost her position as Deputy Speaker of the House because she voted against the bill. If that is not an example of political muscle flexing you will have to think really hard to come up with another one as a good example.
It is not my intention here to come up with some more reasons to either promote support for capital punishment or the opposite. But I do hope to convince people to make a decision one way or the other only after considering the reasons why capital punishment should be, or shouldn’t be, in our books.
In the March 21 issue of the PDI the Philippine Psychological Association (PPA) had a full- page ad expressing its contra stand on the bill. Other groups like the VACC have also expressed their stand in support of the bill. Let us be informed and then we take a stand.
What I find most disturbing is for our Speaker of the House to take away the decision making process from the Members of the House by threats of taking away privileges if they don’t dance to his tune. Shades of Donald Trump!