Death ‘not foolproof deterrent’ to crimes; swift justice better option – IBP exec
MANILA, Philippines — Death penalty is not a foolproof deterrent to criminality, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) national president Domingo Cayosa said Tuesday, stressing that a swift and restorative justice system would be a better option to combat crimes.
The House committee on justice held this day its first hearing on 11 bills seeking to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines.
Cayosa said that although IBP has yet to give an official stand on the bills, most of their members support a reformative justice system.
The IBP leader argued that the estimated 6,000 drug suspects killed in drug operations under the Duterte administration had failed to stop illegal drug activities in the country.
“… Despite the fact that 6,000 have been killed for drug dealing, peddling use or whatever, and these are instant deaths, not even deaths that were imposed by the courts of the land, the drug problem has abated but it has not stopped,” Cayosa told the panel.
“That proves the point that ‘yung kamatayan (death) is not that foolproof deterrence to crime,” the lawyer added, stressing that “justice bilis (swift justice)” is a long-term and better deterrent to criminality.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate also said that the death penalty is a “myth” in deterring crimes as long as the justice system remains “rotten.”Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, who is also an IBP member, said he believes in the restorative and rehabilitative aspect of the penal system and not a punitive legal system.”By being reformative, you cannot reform a person already dead,” he added.
Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Karen Dumpit also said at the hearing that the revival of the death penalty undermines the international treaties on right to life entered into by the Philippines. She likewise said the country should uphold its integrity and moral high ground to protect overseas Filipino workers on death row by not reinstating capital punishment.
Representatives of the Philippine National Police, Department of Justice, and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) have supported the reimposition of the death penalty. But PAO deputy chief Silvestre Mosing said lawmakers must exercise the utmost care in ensuring that only the “most atrocious” and “extreme heinous crimes” are punished with it.
There are at least 11 House bills reimposing the death penalty that have been referred to the justice committee.
Among these was Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Biazon’s House Bill No. 741 which reimposes the death penalty on drug-related offenses, specifically high-level drug trafficking, except for possession of illegal drugs.
Meanwhile, Minority Leader and Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr.’s HB 1588 revives the death penalty on drug-related offenses, heinous crimes like murder, rape, kidnapping, as well as plunder.
President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to pass a measure reimposing capital punishment for drug-related offenses, as well as plunder, during his fourth State of the Nation Address last July 22. The death penalty was suspended through Republic Act No. 9346 signed in 2006 by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On March 7, 2017, the House under the 17th Congress, gave its nod to House Bill No. 4727 seeking to reimpose capital punishment for heinous and drug-related crimes, but it did not prosper in the Senate.In the current 18th Congress, some death penalty bills have also been pending before the Senate committees on justice and human rights and constitutional amendments and revision of codes. These were filed by administration allies – Senators Bong Go, Vicente Sotto III, Bong Revilla, and Ronald dela Rosa, among others. /kga
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