Angara seeks ‘compelling evidence’ death penalty is deterrent to crime
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday said he would need to see “compelling evidence” that the death penalty will effectively deter crimes and that “miscarriages of justice” will not be committed before he votes for its revival in the Senate.
“I’m open but I need to see compelling evidence that it will be effective. That we won’t be prosecuting, killing the wrong people. You might have miscarriages of justice. I don’t want that to happen,” Angara said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
“I need to see compelling evidence that this will be effective in deterring heinous crimes. I need to see compelling evidence that our justice system is ready to implement this in a fair manner,” he added.
Discussions on capital punishment were revived in Congress following President Rodrigo Duterte’s renewed push for its reimposition for drug-related crimes during his latest State of the Nation Address.
But the Senate is a “divided house” on the issue, according to Angara.
“There those the proponents who are clearly in favor then you have those who are clearly against and then you have a few who are kind of waiting to hear a compelling case, waiting to see the evidence and I would put myself in that middle camp,” he said.
He said that lawmakers would also need to weigh the cost and benefit of reviving the death penalty in the country.
In 2006, Congress under then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo passed a law abolishing the death penalty in the Philippines.
“The (European Union) was one of the main proponents for the lifting (of the death penalty). Not just for humanitarian reasons but also for effectivity,” Angara said.
“They were saying that it’s largely ineffective. And they linked it to trade privileges of the country. The GSP+ (Generalized Scheme of Preferences) which was renewed a few years ago at the beginning of the Duterte term,” he added.
“So those are the things that we’ll be looking at moving forward,” he further said.
In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives gave its nod to House Bill No. 4727 seeking to reimpose capital punishment for heinous and drug-related offenses, but it did not prosper in the Senate.
Currently, there are several bills seeking the revival of the death penalty filed at the Senate. All are still pending at the committee level.
Other senators have earlier expressed opposition to the return of the death penalty without needed reforms in the country’s justice system.
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