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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Some Duterte allies also against death penalty: Lagman

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
Not everyone in President Rodrigo Duterte's camp is backing his proposal to revive the death penalty.

House opposition leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman today revealed some administration stalwarts are among those opposed to the death penalty bill, with as many as 50 lawmakers ready to debate the bill.

"The debates will be very extensive particularly from those who are going to interpellate. I think we can produce even 50 interpellators. Matagal yun pero you know the leadership can always find ways under the rules of the House to stop the lengthy interpellation but were going to oppose that," Lagman said.

Lagman named Duterte's own allies, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles and PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles, as among those opposing the bill.

"Yesterday Koko Nograles approached me and told me that he is against the reimposition of the death penalty and he has very good arguments why it should not be reimposed," he said.

Jericho Nograles confirmed this in a text to message.

"I am pro-admin. However, I am also pro-life. I cannot support the death penalty bill," he said.

Lagman said former president and now House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal is also opposed to the death penalty. Arroyo abolished the death penalty when she was president.

"She has made her announcement already that she is against the reimposition of the death penalty. It was former president Arroyo who signed the bill which became law abolishing the death penalty," he said.

Arroyo has said she remains steadfast against the death penalty but would not debate with the administration on the measure.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, another opposition leader, said the Makabayan bloc, which is also supportive of the Duterte administration, is opposed to the death penalty.

Baguilat added long debates can test the existence of a quorum during the plenary session.

ROUGH SAILING AHEAD


Lagman believes the bill faces rough sailing at the Senate.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, president of Duterte's PDP-Laban party, admitted on Monday that the upper chamber is divided on the issue.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House Justice Committee which is tasked to handle the bill, said the Lower House will work on passing the bill regardless of the developments at the Senate.

Lagman said that, based on his experience fighting for the equally controversial reproductive health bill, debates for a single interpellator can drag on for weeks.

With some House lawmakers belonging to the supermajority showing opposition to the death penalty, Lagman urged the ruling PDP-Laban party and other major political parties to allow a conscience vote.

"If there would be a conscience vote then definitely it will not pass. But the Speaker wants a party vote which is a pressure vote so that is where some members of the House who are at present against the death penalty maybe pressured not anymore to attend the session in order to deny a negative vote," he said.

Source: abs-cbn.com, January 17, 2017


Pimentel: Senators divided over death penalty revival


Senators are split over the proposed restoration of the death penalty, a "non-negotiable" issue for those who are opposing it, Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said on Monday.

Pimentel said he himself is against the revival of the capital punishment but he would keep an open mind just to show his support for President Rodrigo Duterte.

"It's split," he told reporters when asked about the senators' sentiments on the issue, which is now considered a priority measure in the House of Representatives. "What's good about the Senate is that for some, it's non-negotiable. You can't sway their stand against death penalty so it would be a very interesting discussion here in the Senate," he said.

The House was reportedly considering the passage of a measure, seeking the revival of the capital punishment, before the adjournment of the 1st regular session of the 17th Congress in June.

Pimentel said the House's target was "realistic," saying it would be enough time for the Senate to also come up with its own recommendation. "We have 41 session days. I think that's good enough time for us to discuss the death penalty and also come up with a decision by June. I think that's a realistic timetable," he said.

The Senate leader said the Senate committee on justice chaired by Senator Richard Gordon has already started its deliberations on various bills on the revival of the death penalty.

Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net, January 17, 2017

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