Drilon: Death penalty debate faces difficulty in Senate

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — It's an uphill fight for death penalty in the Senate, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday right before the Senate deliberations on the controversial bill.

"It will have an extreme difficulty in the Senate. I will not be surprised if it fails," Drilon told CNN Philippines The Source.

"We will give it priority as we are giving it today, but I don't think anyone will assure passage," he added.

Drilon said "a heated debate" can be expected as the Senate opens its first committee hearing on the death penalty on Tuesday.

Although the death penalty bill enjoys support in the House of Representatives, support for it is more muted in the Senate.

Drilon estimated that 10 senators are opposed to the bill. In order to pass Senate, the measure for death penalty needs at least 13 out of 24 votes.

Among those opposed to the death penalty are Senators Richard Gordon, Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Leila De Lima, Ralph Recto, Francis "Chiz" Escudero, and Antonio Trillanes IV. Those championing the bill are Senators Manny Pacquiao, Tito Sotto, Panfilo Lacson, and Sherwin Gatchalian.

Drilon identified the "defective justice system" as his primary reason for opposition to the bill.

"If we have a death penalty, an error cannot be corrected anymore," said Drilon. "Many of the issues that we hear today can be traced to a large extent to our failure to properly implement our system of justice."