MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte urged lawmakers on Monday to bring back the death penalty as part of his internationally-condemned crackdown on narcotics in which police have already killed thousands, reports AFP.
Buoyed by exceptionally high approval ratings and a legislature dominated by his allies, Duterte used his annual State of the Nation address to urge action on a key unrealised plank of his tough-on-crime stance.“I respectfully request congress to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs as well as plunder,” he said referring also to the nation’s deep rooted corruption problem.
“My countrymen, it is a sad commentary that we cannot distinguish our need from our greed, our principles from prejudices,” he told hundreds of assembled lawmakers, diplomats and celebrities in Manila.
Though his campaign is the subject of a recently launched review by the United Nations’ rights body and preliminary inquiry from International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutors, he was defiant in his address.
“Duterte—extrajudicial killing—report to the ICC,” he said. “If you can provide me with a good comfortable cell, heated during winter time... unlimited conjugal visits, we can understand each other.”
In May’s mid-term elections Duterte allies won control of the Senate, which had stopped cold some of his most controversial proposals, including bringing back capital punishment.
However, his allies, including the daughter of deceased former dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the first head of Duterte’s drug war, have said they would back the death penalty.Just as he began his 90-minute address he pointed to the popular support that underpins his brash rule, which faces censure for locking up detractors and attacking critical journalists.