Senators expect intense debate on death penalty bill

Marje Pelayo   •   July 3, 2019   •   1362

FILE PHOTO: Death chamber

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go has filed the proposed death penalty as his first order of business in the Senate.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said, there is a chance for the bill to prosper in the Senate if the provisions cover only high level drug trafficking.

“If confined to high level drug trafficking, it stands a better chance,” Sotto said.

However, Sotto is uncertain if he will be able to convince his colleagues if the proposed penalty would cover the crime of plunder as Go proposed.

There should be a compelling reason to reinstate the death penalty without violating the Constitution.

“Okay sa akin pero I doubt kung ma-convince namin (ang) iba (It’s okay with me but I doubt if I could convince my colleagues) to support more heinous crimes,” he said.

“Remember, the only way is to present a compelling reason in order to reimpose the death penalty. Otherwise it will violate the Constitution,” he added.

Plunder can only be filed against a government official who has amassed public funds worth P50 million and more.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri believes the bill will face intense debate among the senators.

“We have members of the minority for example the Senate minority leader, Senator Franklin Drilon they committed going against this,” he said.

“It will be a good and healthy discussion and we will make sure that it is calendared for plenary debates and eventually we have to put it on a vote,” he added.

Though a member of the minority bloc, Zubiri stands against the death penalty bill. – with reports from Nel Maribojoc

Go calls for transparency in Kuwaiti gov’t probe on death of Filipina worker

Robie de Guzman   •   January 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on Kuwaiti authorities to be transparent with their investigation into the death of another Filipina household worker.

The victim, Jeanelyn Padernal Villavende, allegedly died at the hands of her Kuwaiti employer.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Go condemned Villavende’s brutal killing and called on Kuwaiti authorities to make sure that the perpetrators in Villavende’s case will be punished according to the fullest extent of their laws.

“Kinokondena ko ‘yung pagpatay kay Jeanelyn at despite the May 2018 agreement between the Philippines and Kuwaiti government, there are still reports of violence and abuses committed against our fellow Filipinos in Kuwait,” he said.

“Masakit na iniiwan ng mga kababayan natin ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay upang makapagtrabaho lang sa mga malalayong lugar at mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan ang kanilang pamilya. Mas masakit malaman na sa kabila ng kanilang sakripisyo, sila ay patuloy na naaabuso at minsan namamatay pa,” he added.

The senator also expressed his sympathy for the family of the victim as he vowed to provide assistance for them, particularly for the medical needs of Villavende’s father, with the help of the Malasakit Center.

“Nakikiramay ako sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn. Asahan na kaisa ninyo ako sa paghanap ng agarang hustisya sa pagkamatay ng inyong mahal sa buhay.”

Go also called on concerned government agencies to coordinate in regard to the immediate repatriation of the slain OFW.

“Kailangang masigurado din na maibigay ng gobyerno at maging ng private insurance company ang lahat ng mga benepisyo para sa mga naulila ni Jeanelyn, katulad ng livelihood assistance, death and burial assistance, scholarship sa naiwang kapamilya at iba pa,” he added.

Citing Villavende’s case, Go underscored the need for a separate department to deal with all overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.

In July 2018, he filed Senate Bill 202 or the Department of Overseas Filipinos Act of 2019.

The proposed measure aims to establish a Department of Overseas Filipinos to serve as the umbrella agency to specifically address all the issues and concerns of Filipinos abroad and their families, to afford them full protection, promote their full and just employment, mitigate the social costs back home, and serve as a channel to address OFW issues and grievances.

The measure further creates an Overseas Filipinos Assistance Fund to provide financial support to Filipino migrants in distress, inclusive of repatriation and provisions for life-saving funds in times of great emergency or distress, and provides training and livelihood loans for OFWs returning to the Philippines for good.

The bill also mandates the creation of “OFW Malasakit Centers” in all provinces and major cities to ensure prompt and efficient provision of services to OFWs and their families, such as acquisition of government permits, validation of overseas job offers, grievance and complaints desks and reintegration services.

Under current laws, OFWs need to go to different government agencies scattered in several departments and offices to secure their needed documents and present their other concerns, such as employment and technical education.

If passed into law, the measure is seen to help in curbing issues and inconveniences experienced by Filipino migrant workers and will also provide better protection for them.

Japan executes man sentenced to death over four murders

UNTV News   •   December 26, 2019

Then Japanese Declining Birthrate, Gender Equality, Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Minister Masako Mori speaks during an official news conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 December, 2012 after being attested by Emperor Akihito. EPA-EFE FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

TOKYO, JAPAN – An inmate convicted and sentenced to death in Japan over the murder of four people was executed on Thursday, the country’s justice ministry said.

In a press conference, Justice Minister Masako Mori announced the execution of Wei Wei, a Chinese national aged 40.

His death sentence was handed out in 2005 but finalized after an appeal on Nov. 10, 2011 for the murders carried out in June 2003 in the southwestern city of Fukuoka.

The four victims, members of the same family including two children, were allegedly killed by being thrown in the sea tied to weights.

The execution was ordered by Mori on Monday and carried out on Thursday in the city of Fukuoka.

In the press conference, Mori called Wei’s case “extremely savage and cruel,” recalling that the victims included a boy aged 11 and a girl aged 8, along with their parents.

She said that the decision to give the death penalty in the case had been “well-examined” during the trial.

Wei Wei was the first person to be executed in Japan since Aug. 2, also marking the 39th execution during the uninterrupted reign of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since 2012.

Abe had also served as prime minister for a short duration between 2006 and 2007.

This was also the first execution since Mori was appointed minister of justice on Oct. 31.

On Aug. 2, two inmates who were sentenced to death over separate charges of the rape and murder of women were hanged.

A total of 15 death-row inmates were executed in 2018, including Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that carried out a deadly Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Another 12 members of the cult were also executed, and in December 2018, two death-row inmates who were convicted over the murder of a company president and one of the firm’s employees in 1988 were hanged.

Japan is the only industrialized and democratic nation apart from the United States that carries out capital punishment, and death-row inmates are kept in solitary confinement and informed about their execution just hours before they are hanged.

The Asian country currently has 112 convicts on death row. EFE-EPA

Duterte signs Malasakit Center Act

Robie de Guzman   •   December 4, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the Postponement of the 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections Act and the Malasakit Center Act during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on December 3, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law a measure seeking to institutionalize the establishment of Malasakit centers in all hospitals run by the Department of Health (DOH) across the country.

Duterte signed the Republic Act 11463 in a ceremony held in Malacañang Tuesday night, but a copy of the law is yet to be released.

Under the law, Malasakit Centers will serve as one-stop shop for medical and financial assistance provided by the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office in more than 70 DOH-run hospitals nationwide.

Its functions also include providing indigent patients with referral to the health care provider networks as well as information on membership, coverage and benefit packages in the National Health Insurance Program.

However, these centers are not meant to provide additional funds for assistance since government agencies run their own medical and financial assistance programs.

Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go expressed gratitude and hailed the enactment of the law he authored and sponsored.

The law was a pet project of Go, former top aide of Duterte.

The DOH, for its part, welcomed the signing of the measure which is seen to ease the process of granting financial medical assistance to impoverished patients.

“The long lines and tedious processes for availment of financial medical assistance will be things of the past,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a statement.

He also said that the establishment of Malasakit centers complements the implementation of the country’s Universal Health Care Program. The DOH said that there are now a total of 74 Malasakit Centers established nationwide with 45 centers in DOH hospitals, 28 in LGU-operated hospitals, and one in the Philippine General Hospital. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

REACH US

The Philippine Broadcast Hub

UNTV, 915 Barangay Philam,

EDSA, Quezon City M.M. 1104

(+632) 8396-8688 (Tel)

(+632) 8920.8336 (Fax)

info@untvweb.com (General inquiries)

support@untvweb.com

UNTV News and Rescue Emergency Hotlines:

LANDLINE (+632) 8396-8688

ADVERTISE WITH US

(+632) 8 442.6244 Loc. 143, 144, 162, 164

advertising@untvweb.com

ABOUT UNTV

UNTV is a major TV broadcast network with 24-hour programming. An Ultra High Frequency station with strong brand content that appeal to everyone, UNTV is one of the most trusted and successful Philippine networks that guarantees wholesome and quality viewing experience.