FILIPINO boxing icon and senator Manny Pacquiao has called for the revival of the death sentence for heinous crimes related to drugs amid the country’s violent and controversial crackdown on the narcotics trade.
The eight-division champion who has been described as “one of the greatest” boxers of all time made the proposal on Thursday during a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings, ABS-CBN reported.
The Senate was probing the alleged of killing of drug suspects by authorities and vigilante groups under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Since his ascension to the presidency in June, Duterte’s war on drugs has reportedly led to the deaths of over 3,000 drug suspects and has seen another 600,000 surrender voluntarily.
Citing Article 3, Section 19 of the Philippines’ Constitution Pacquiao said: “It is my humble opinion that our problem with heinous crimes related to the trafficking and abuse of dangerous drugs falls within the bounds of this constitutional limitation.”
The section of the article states that “Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading, or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it.”
Pacquiao, who is a senator under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party, said the provision would be truly useful for the country’s ongoing war on drug crimes.
He said it speaks “in clear language” that grants congress the authority to push for measures to impose the death penalty for compelling reasons.
“The problem of our country with regard to drug trafficking has grown into an emergency situation that now merits urgent action,” he said.
“This would allow for a timely opportunity to stop the nation’s growing (drug) problem over crimes related to the trafficking and abuse of dangerous drugs.”
Meanwhile, an independent poll shows that Duterte, under fire internationally for his deadly crackdown on suspected drug dealers, has a “very good” public net satisfaction rating of plus 64 nearly three months after taking office.
The figure is lower than the “excellent” trust rating of plus 79 he got days before his June 30 inauguration according to pollster Social Weather Stations.
The latest survey, conducted Sept. 24 to Sept. 27, was published Thursday and shows that 76 percent of 1,200 adults polled nationwide were satisfied with Duterte’s performance, while 11 were dissatisfied, and 13 percent were undecided. That yielded a net satisfaction rating of plus 64, with a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percent.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press