Poe cites need for judicial reforms
By Yolanda Sotelo
DAGUPAN CITY – Senator Grace Poe said she was still thoroughly studying if the death penalty law must be passed, and cited the need for a corresponding law on massive cleansing of the judicial system.
Poe said she has spoken to Senator Vicente Sotto, majority floor leader, about the need to have simultaneous discussion of judicial reforms bill during the deliberation of the death penalty in the Senate.
The Senator was the guest of honor and speaker during the JCI Dagupan Bangus induction and turn-over ceremonies on Saturday night.
Poe said an associate justice of the Supreme Court told her that 700 cases yearly would add to the yearly 900 regular cases being reviewed by the body, “and there are only few justices.”
“We have to support the courts, we should add more courts but we should remove the corrupt judges,” she said, adding that the plan is easier said than done.
But she emphasized that, if death penalty becomes a law, corrupt judges must be removed from office as the poor could not afford to hire good lawyers.
Poe added that other crimes like rape, murder and other heinous crimes must be included in the list of crimes punishable by death.
“But the bill should be studied thoroughly in the Senate,” she said.
While not admitting that she would vote against the bill, Poe stressed that she won’t mind getting booted out of committee chairmanship in case she votes against death penalty which is being pushed by President Duterte.
At the lower house, those who voted against the bill were removed from their respective chairmanship.
“That is wrong –the scare tactic. What they should do is give recognition to those with principles,” she said, adding that the lawmakers’ decisions must be based on what they believed would be good for many, not based on religion.
She added that if she removed from chairmanship because of a very important law, “it would be okay because I have stood firmly on my principles.”
But she did not think that the Senate leadership would do what was done in the lower house.
“We have talked with the new majority and what they say is when it comes to death penalty bill, each senator has a personal stand,” she said.
However, she confirmed that while there are many allies of Duterte in the Senate, it was a ‘toss-up” between the numbers of senators who are for, and those who are against the imposition of death penalty.
As of now, there are women senators allied with Malacanang who are against the bill, “so it’s really a personal matter.”
Poe likewise underscored the need for reforms in the Philippine National Police for the war against drugs to be successful.
“Let us not forget corruption as those accused of corruption are not getting pardoned. We should take the war against corruption seriously,” she said.
Poe said she was still hoping for the best under the Duterte Administration, “dahil ang tagumpay ng pamamalakad ng bansa ay tagumpay ng lahat.”
However, she said there is still a need for the national government to focus on health and poverty issues, and creation of jobs.
Entry filed under: News.