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Tennessee execution: Billy Ray Irick tortured to death, expert says in new filing

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Editor's note: Reporter Dave Boucher was one of seven state-required media witnesses at Irick's execution. 
Billy Ray Irick felt searing pain akin to torture before he died in a Tennessee prison in August, but steps taken in carrying out his execution blocked signs of suffering, according to a doctor who reviewed information about the lethal injection.
In new court filings entered late Thursday amidst an ongoing legal challenge of Tennessee’s lethal injection protocol, Dr. David Lubarsky said statements from people who witnessed the execution indicated the controversial drug midazolam failed to ensure Irick could not feel pain during his death.
As a result, the death row inmate “experienced the feeling of choking, drowning in his own fluids, suffocating, being buried alive, and the burning sensation caused by the injection of the potassium chloride,” Lubarsky wrote in the filing.
The document also says the state did not follow its own lethal injection protocol, raising questio…

Philippines: Death penalty dropped from list of urgent bills

House of Representatives, Manila, Philippines
House of Representatives, Manila, Philippines
The death penalty bill is conspicuously absent from the list of 35 measures the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to prioritize in the second regular session of the 17th Congress.

Leaders of the 2 chambers agreed on Wednesday to pass bills on tax reforms, traffic emergency powers and the end of endo, or contractualization, before the end of 2017, as well as to revise the 1987 Constitution and approve the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Not on the priority list is the bill restoring the death penalty, which has been passed on third reading by the House and one of the measures pushed by President Duterte during his State of the Nation Address on Monday.

"We agreed to disagree on some things," House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said at a press briefing.

The meeting, attended by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, as well as the majority and minority leaders of the 2 chambers, took place on Wednesday morning at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel, where they set targets for the passage of priority bills.

Four quarters


Speaking to reporters afterward, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said consensus was reached by both leaderships to divide the 2nd regular session into 4 quarters.

The 1st quarter starts from Monday until the adjournment in October, the 2nd will cover November and December, the 3rd January and March 2018, and the 4th May and June 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III told reporters the plan was to approve the priority bills in 2 quarters.

"There is a list of priority measures that are already pending on 2nd, 2rd reading and passed on the committee level," Sotto said.

Farinas noted that many of the measures had already been passed by the House over the past 12 months, including the first tax reform package and the proposed National Land Use Act.

Some of the measures the Congress leaders want to pass in the next 3 months are the proposed Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, national ID system, antidiscrimination bill and the measure seeking to end the practice of contractualization, or the short-term contracting of labor.

The lawmakers did not give a clear time frame for the proposal to revise the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for the switch to the federal system.

BBL timetable


On the proposed BBL, a draft copy of which was submitted to President Duterte two weeks ago, Sotto said they hoped they would be able to pass the measure by the end of the year.

Mr. Duterte has said he will certify the BBL as urgent.

Farinas said the proposed BBL might have to be "tied with" the federalization measure, as certain constitutional provisions would be affected in creating a new self-governing region for majority-Muslim provinces in Mindanao.

He said the House and the Senate agreed to form a technical working group to propose changes to the Constitution.

Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net, July 27, 2017

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