Duterte asks Congress to restore death penalty

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) – President Rodrigo R. Duterte pushed for the reinstatement of capital punishment for heinous crimes during his fourth State of the Nation Address on Monday.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte delivering his fourth State of the Nation Address in Congress. Screengrab from RTVM.

Duterte, speaking before a joint session of Congress, opened his speech with a diatribe against the continuing proliferation of illegal drugs and corruption in government.

“We have not learned our lesson,” Duterte said, adding it was tons of shabu (crystal meth) worth millions of pesos that funded the Marawi siege in 2017.

“Drugs will continue unless corruption is eliminated,” he said. “We have a long way to go against this social menace.”

He then urged Congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes, in particular for offenses related to illegal drugs as well as plunder.

Duterte singled out PhilHealth and the Bureau of Customs as among the corruption-ridden agencies.

He cited the alleged padded medical claims and assistance to “ghost patients” that made him “grossly disappointed”.

He said he had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate and prosecute the liable parties, and had appointed a new PhilHealth president, a former military official whose name he did not mention.

Duterte also blamed the passivity of ordinary citizens as one of the reasons for corruption in government.

“Be assertive. If somebody tries to collect an amount greater than what you should pay, make a scandal, slap him,” he said in Filipino. (MindaNews)