Escudero: Gov’t should lead global call for death penalty abolition
SENATOR Francis Escudero called on the government on Wednesday to take the lead in pushing the abolition of death penalty in the international community.
Escudero made the call even after Mary Jane Veloso’s execution was stopped by the Indonesian government at the last minute early Wednesday.
“Sana pangunahan at isulong ng ating bansa sa international community ang pag-alis na ng death penalty bilang kaparusahan sa anumang krimen,” he said in a statement as he stood pat against the revival of death penalty in the country.
The senator pointed out that “it is still the certainty of punishment that will deter drug lords and other criminals from plying their trade rather than the re-imposition of the death penalty.”
He, nevertheless, expressed relief and gratitude that Veloso’s death sentence was stopped on the wee hours of Wednesday, but said there should be no let-up in the Philippine government’s efforts to save Veloso.
“Dapat ituloy natin ang pagsulong ng legal na proseso hanggang ma-commute o ma-pardon si Mary Jane. Ganundin dapat sa iba pang mga distressed Filipino sa iba’t ibang parte ng mundo,” said Escudero.
Senators Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino, meanwhile, called on the government to beef up the cases against Veloso’s alleged recruiters, who allegedly tricked Veloso into bringing 2.6 kilos of heroin in Indonesia.
“The government should fast track and prioritize the cases against the illegal recruiter and see if the claims of Mary Jane that she was set up are true because this already led to a temporary reprieve,” Angara said in a separate statement.
“A definitive finding may lead to a permanent reprieve or at least commutation of sentence in Indonesia,” he further said.
Sen. Aquino said the Department of Justice and the Department of Foreign Affairs should continue supporting Veloso in her case so she will be spared the death penalty.
“Let us exert all means necessary to protect our Overseas Filipinos against syndicates who use them as drug couriers and other illegal activities,” he said.
The senator also lauded the collective efforts of his cousin, President Benigno Aquino, and Vice President Jejomar Binay and Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario that prompted the granting of the suspension of Veloso’s execution.
“This once again proves that if concerned government agencies work together, positive things happen,” Aquino said. AC
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