MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte's own chief legal counsel said Superintendent Maria Cristina Noblezacan’t be hanged in public for reportedly aiding terrorist groups in Mindanao.
“That is not the penalty imposed by the Constitution,” said Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo told Palace reporters on Monday, June 5, after being asked why Nobleza cannot be executed by public hanging.
“What [President Duterte] is saying is that this Nobleza has to be given the severest penalty imposed by law but that is not hanging, definitely not hanging,” he said.
Duterte, a lawyer, made the threat during a media interview on Saturday, June 3, in Cagayan De Oro. “The President, as we have known him by this time, he is fond of hyperbole because he wants some drama in some statements, to dramatize anything that he says, to get the attention of the people,” weighed in Panelo.
On Saturday, Duterte said he would order the public hanging of Nobleza for betraying the country.
“Dapat bitayin at public hanging siya (She should be executed by public hanging). And I will not hesitate to do it if it comes to that. I will hang every traitor here in government,” said Duterte.
Nobleza is the police official who was arrested for an alleged attempt to rescue a terrorist involved in the foiled Bohol terror attack.
A police investigation revealed that Nobleza was romantically involved with Renierlo Dongon, brother-in-law of several terror leaders in Mindanao.
Duterte claimed Nobleza accepted money from the Islamic State or ISIS in the Middle East and channeled the funds to terror groups in the Philippines.
“We looked at the remittances. The name always surfacing is that of the woman, Nobleza, the police woman who was being sent funds by one of the terror groups fighting in the Middle East. She is really the lady that is a traitor to her country,” said the President on Saturday.
Aside from public hanging not being in the Constitution, Congress has not yet passed any law reviving death penalty in the country.
In the death penalty revival bill passed by the House of Representatives, House Bill Number 4727, hanging is one of the allowed methods of execution, aside from firing squad and lethal injection. – Rappler.com