VACC pressing for return of firing squad | Inquirer News

VACC pressing for return of firing squad

/ 11:21 PM February 01, 2014

Despite disapproving views from Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and President Benigno Aquino himself, a group mostly composed of families of heinous crime victims is preparing a position paper that, with at least one backer in the Senate, could reopen the debate on the reinstatement of the death penalty.

The position paper will be submitted tentatively this week to Sen. Tito Sotto, who recently filed a bill reviving capital punishment in the country seven years after its abolition, according to Arsenio Evangelista, board member of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).


Evangelista, whose son Venson was murdered allegedly by members of a car theft syndicate in 2011, said the VACC preferred the revival of the death penalty in a more public form: firing squad.

“They (perpetrators of heinous crimes) have to be given a real scare,” he said in an interview with the Inquirer. Having them executed through firing squad—a method last used in the country during the Marcos regime—would send a “chilling effect to criminals, would-be criminals, and the population,” he said.


The execution should also be “covered by the trimedia” so that the convicted criminals would also feel some measure of “embarrassment.”

“We don’t like lethal injection,” Evangelista said. “Embarrass them in public.”

Hence, the VACC only supports Sotto’s initiative “99.9 percent” since it still wants to retain lethal injection as the mode of execution, he said.

He said the revival of the death penalty would be necessary to prevent the country from deteriorating into a “playground for well-organized syndicates,” such as the Sinaloa drug ring of Mexico and West African cartel whose operators are feared to have already entered the country.

Soft spot

Evangelista also cited the recent rape and killing of a 6-year-old girl in Manila by a pedicab driver, who confessed to be drunk and high on drugs when he snatched the minor.

“Why do they do it? Because they see a soft spot. It’s easy to corrupt the criminal justice (system) here, the judiciary, the police operatives,” he said.


In reaction to Sotto’s bill, President Aquino earlier said reviving capital punishment in the country where the justice system is “imperfect” could send the innocent to death row, and that “the assurance that you’ll be imprisoned or caught if you commit a crime is a better deterrent.”

De Lima also described Sotto’s bill as a “knee-jerk reaction” to recent high-profile drug raids.

But in a statement, VACC founding chair Dante Jimenez said the revival of the death penalty would “help curb crime” which, based on Philippine National Police records, reached “more than a million incidents” last year.

“Heinous crimes are being committed with alarming impunity more especially under the Aquino administration. Massacres, murders and rape have become commonplace,” Jimenez said.

To those arguing that innocent people could land in death row because of the country’s weak justice system, Jimenez said the Supreme Court “automatically reviews their verdicts as a safeguard against this.”

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TAGS: Death penalty, Firing Squad, heinous crime
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