Makabayan bloc vow to reject death penalty bills
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc on Thursday vowed to oppose any bill that will revive the death penalty in the country.
The lawmakers made the stand after President Rodrigo Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address, called for the swift passage of the law reviving the death penalty in the Philippines for drug-related charges.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate insisted that such a measure is not a crime deterrent and will only be used to further oppress Filipinos’ human rights.
“‘Pag naipasa ang batas na ito, this is part of the weaponization of laws ng Duterte administration at gagamitin lang ito para mas supilin uli ang karapatan ng mamamayan,” he said in an online press briefing.
(If this law is passed, this would be part of the weaponization of laws of the Duterte administration and this will be used to further suppress human rights.)
“Alam naman natin na ang tatamaan nito ay ang pinaka-vulnerable na sektor ng ating lipunan, ang mahihirap,” he added.
(We know that those who would be affected by this is the most vulnerable sector of our society, the poor.)
For her part, ACT-Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro pointed out that the county must first fix the justice system in the country, which she said currently favors the wealthy and the powerful, before the death penalty is reimposed.
She also pointed out that the Duterte administration must also be made accountable for the series of extrajudicial killings that occurred since the President assumed office in 2016.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite noted the “lukewarm” response of members of Congress when the President made another push for the death penalty, saying that this is because the issue is very “divisive.”
He also noted that there was even a change of leadership in the House when the death penalty was previously pushed in the chamber.
“Divisive issue yan kasi marami sa kasamahan sa Kongreso ay naniniwala na hindi nararapat ang death penalty,” the party-list lawmaker said.
(This issue is divisive because most of members of the House believe that the death penalty is not right.)
For Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, she said the death penalty issue is being used to “divert attention away” from the whopping P9 trillion debt of the Philippines for its COVID-19 response.
It is also being used to further polarize and divide the public.
“Ang nangyayari lang ay naghahati ng mga tao at ‘yung polarization ng mga tao na ang pinakakailangan ay unity,” she said.
(The people are being divided and polarized when they need to be united.)
“Hindi natin kailangan ito [death penalty] ngayon,” Elago added. #
(We don’t need death penalty now.)
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