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CHR ready for ‘frank, factual’ discussions on death penalty

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday said it was ready to have a “frank and factual” conversation with Congress regarding the possible restoration of death penalty in the country.

In a statement, Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said the CHR recognized that crime should not go unpunished.

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However, the rights body said it was prepared to “present the ineffectiveness” of capital punishment, and that the commission was willing to provide viable alternatives for crime prevention.

“These include police visibility, or increasing police to population ratios, and community vigilance. We fully support these initiatives that do not diminish our principles to uphold the right to life,” Dumpit said.

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In the same statement, she also reminded the Duterte administration that the Philippines had a legal obligation to respect the right to life, since the country was a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Second Optional Protocol aimed at the abolition of the death penalty.

“As a state party to these human rights treaties, we have perpetually committed not to impose nor reintroduce capital punishment,” Dumpit said.

‘Plunge the needle’

For his part, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. dared those who wanted to restore the death penalty to personally “plunge the needle” on the convict and accept the blame if they find that they had killed an innocent person.

While he wants President Rodrigo Duterte to intensify against the “war on drugs,” Locsin said “the death penalty kills the wrong people.”

“In [the] death chamber we the people are the killers. Anyone wants the death penalty must plunge the needle himself in his own name and blame,” he tweeted on Sunday.

“I will not besmirch myself with what’s worse than EJK (extrajudicial killing): judicial killing,” he added.

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As former Makati representative, Locsin said he voted to abolish the death penalty in 2006 during the administration of former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

When he ran in 2016, the President had vowed to restore the death penalty for drug traffickers.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III recently said restoring the death penalty now stood a better chance of passing after several administration senatorial candidates won, including former presidential aide Christopher “Bong” Go and former national police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

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TAGS: CHR, Commission on Human Rights, Death penalty, Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Teodoro Locsin Jr
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