PNP chief favors restoration of death penalty
MANILA, Philippines—The daring daylight robbery at Robinsons Galleria in Quezon City that left a security guard dead and five others wounded is reviving talk of restoring the death penalty.
Director General Nicanor A. Bartolome of the Philippine National Police said Friday he was in favor of restoring the capital punishment on account of criminals becoming more brutal, as demonstrated in Thursday’s robbery.
“I think it’s time that we revived the death penalty as criminal elements are becoming more and more aggressive. It seems they have no qualms anymore,” he said over dzBB radio.
“Criminal elements will hold up a victim then kill him. Sometimes, they would snatch a purse then kill the victim,” Bartolome said in another interview on dzMM radio.
“What about those who get caught and charged with the crime? They only end up with… life imprisonment. What happens now to those they have killed?” he added.
Bartolome said he was ready to join any discussion on proposals to revive the death penalty, which was abolished in 2006.
Calls for its reinstatement are made periodically by various sectors, particularly whenever high-profile crimes make headlines, but these are met with resistance by the Church and humanitarian organizations.
The PNP chief said he understood that others might hold a different view on restoring the capital punishment. He said he favored imposing death only on persons found guilty of committing heinous crimes, such as rape and murder.
“The PNP is doing all it can to prevent crime but the penalty is sometimes not strong enough to serve as a deterrent,” Bartolome said.
In the dzMM interview, he dismissed suggestions that the 143,000-strong PNP simply needed to be more visible.
“We cannot place policemen in every gate, in every establishment, in every building. We put them in clusters. They were asking why there were no policemen posted at the [Galleria] gate, but how could we give policemen in every building in Metro Manila?” Bartolome said.
“You will observe that the PNP can only detail a certain number of officers in one area, and roving patrols operate on 12-hour shifts. Even 24 hours is not enough to cover all the ground,” he added.
Earlier, PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said it was still up to legislators to revive the death penalty.
PNP records showed that there was no significant dip in the crime rate even when the death penalty was in place, he said. Cruz said one explanation could be that the statistics simply did not reflect the number of crimes that might have been prevented out of fear of the death penalty.
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