MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon will not give up his post as chair of Senate justice committee, which will preside over the hearings on reviving the death penalty.

“I have told them [senators] already. I will chair it. I am not going to give it up. I am going to chair it,” Gordon, who had consistently opposed the revival of capital punishment, said in an interview over AM radio station DWIZ.

Gordon reiterated that he would not be biased during the hearings despite stand against the death penalty.

“I can chair it objectively,” he said.

He noted that some people had been saying that Sen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa would be biased chairing a hearing on the death penalty because he was pushing for it.

In an earlier interview, Gordon said he would not sponsor the measure.

But during the radio interview on Saturday, he said he would allow a debate on the measure at the Senate floor.

In another DWIZ interview, Sen. Cynthia Villar said she was “okay” with death penalty if it would be imposed on drug lords.

‘Stabbed in the back’

In another DWIZ interview, Dela Rosa, a former chief of the Philippine National Police who led the administration's bloody drug war, hopes that he could get sponsorship as Senate bills pushing for the return of death penalty might get “stabbed in the back.”

“If he [Gordon] creates a subcommittee, I hope he lets me have the sponsorship so that the bills won’t get stabbed in the back if the one sponsoring them is against it,” Dela Rosa said in Filipino. “I hope he would allow the proponent of the bill to be the one to sponsor it,” he said.

He made the comment when asked about Gordon’s “objectivity” as chair of the Senate panel.

Dela Rosa said he respected Gordon’s decision.

“As I have said, it’s up to him because he’d the chairman. We can’t do anything about that if he would not like to sponsor it in the subcommittee,” he said.

Dela Rosa was recently elected as a member of Senate justice committee which would mean he could participate in hearings on the death penalty.

The death penalty issue made the headlines again after President Rodrigo Duterte called for its return during his fifth State of the Nation Address.

/atm