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Harry Roque: RP Charter bars death penalty

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LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Those who are far from you will perish;  you destroy all who are unfaithful to you…” (Psalm 73:27, the Holy Bible).

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HARRY ROQUE: RP CONSTITUTION BARS DEATH PENALTY: The greatest argument against unseating Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque is his mind. Among the many asinine-brained lawmakers we have today in both houses of Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—Roque stands out as someone who is possessed with logic, and clarity and depth of thinking.

As the guest speaker at the 33rd Charter anniversary of the Rotary Club of Uptown Manila where he is also a member, Roque displayed brilliance that is rarely seen among congressmen or representatives in assailing the death penalty bill. Roque agreed to be the Club’s guest speaker upon the invitation of its leader, All Star President Ruel Garcia, a Christian preacher.

His main argument against death penalty? A concept known in international law as “pactasuntservanda”, a Latin term which says that international treaties must be upheld and obeyed by all signatories. In particular, Roque said there are two international agreements where the Philippines was a signatory, in which the country agreed not to impose the death penalty, and not to execute anyone.

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TREATIES BANNING DEATH PENALTY PART OF RP CHARTER:Roque’s thesis is that since the Philippines is a signatory to those two international agreements—the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its Second Additional Protocol—it is actually legally prohibited from enacting a death penalty law, and is barred from executing criminal.

And these prohibitions are binding and obligatory upon the Philippines, Roque said, not only because they are parts of international law but, more importantly, because by the express mandate of the Philippine Constitution, they have become parts of this Constitution itself.

The lawmaker who remains to be a professor of law at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines up to now explained that under the 1987 Constitution, our country “adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land”, so that the ICCPR and its Second Additional Protocol are now deemed part of Philippine law and of the Constitution itself by virtue of Constitutional authorization.

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SC CHALLENGE VS. DEATH PENALTY SET:Roque rejected the arguments of his colleagues at the deliberations of the death penalty bill on Wednesday, March 01, 2017, that the 1987 Constitution contains a provision which allows Congress to pass a death penalty law. He said the power of Congress to pass a death penalty law is merely “permissive”, because the Constitution uses the word “may” in allowing the House to pass that law.

On the other hand, Roque explained that the ICCPR and its Second Additional Protocol are to be considered “mandatory laws”, which are obligatory upon all citizens. In a clash between a “permissive” law and a “mandatory” law, the “mandatory” law must be upheld, Roque said.

The lawmaker-Rotarian hastened to add however that, despite his opposition to the death penalty law, he remains an ardent supporter and is committed to promote the legislative agenda and other directions of President Duterte. This is well and good, but his arguments seem to point to the big possibility that if and when it is passed, the death penalty law can be substantially contested at the Supreme Court.

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PLEASE LISTEN: ”Ang Tanging Daan” (The Sole Way): a Bible Exposition and prayer session online, could now be heard 24/7 (24 hours a day), in the Philippines and the world at  www.facebook.com/angtangingdaan.  Phone: 0917 984 24 68, 0918 574 0193, 0977 805 9058. Email: batasmauricio@yahoo.com.  (By Atty. Batas Mauricio) -30-




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