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Duterte told: Executions antipoor

/ 04:46 AM May 22, 2016

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) on Saturday warned presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte that his plan to revive the death penalty and implement a “shoot-to-kill” policy against criminals would be antipoor and violate international law.

In a statement on Saturday, FLAG chair Jose Manuel Diokno reminded Duterte that before the death penalty was abolished in 2006, about 70 percent of death row inmates were poor and had been wrongfully convicted.

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He also reminded Duterte that the Philippines ratified in 2007 an international treaty prohibiting executions and providing for the abolition of the death penalty.

“The death penalty and shoot-to-kill policy are antipoor,” Diokno said.

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“These actions are illegal and unconstitutional, render our legal system impotent and meaningless, and blatantly violate international law,” he added.

According to FLAG, majority of the 1,121 inmates on death row before the death penalty was abolished in 2006 were poor.

Diokno said the poor were “vulnerable to the death penalty because they have no voice, no money, no power and lack the resources to hire good lawyers.”

 

‘Disregard for human dignity’

“For exactly the same reasons, they will also be vulnerable to the proposed shoot-to-kill policy of the (presumptive) president-elect,” said Diokno, a son of the late senator and antimartial law activist Jose Diokno.

He said the death penalty and the shoot-to-kill policy, along with Duterte’s proposal of death by hanging “reflect a callous disregard for human dignity not befitting a chief executive.”

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“Advocating state-sanctioned killings is not just antipoor but antilife,” Diokno added.

“The death penalty and shoot to kill policy will not deter crime. Only the certainty of being caught and punished can do that. What the country needs is a better justice system, not a new one based on the barrel of a gun,” he said.

He said Duterte was bound to the international treaty called the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines signed on Sept. 20, 2006, and ratified about a year later.

‘A great stigma’

That treaty is the only internationally acknowledged treaty to prohibit executions and provide for the total abolition of the death penalty, he said.

Quoting other death penalty experts, Diokno said it would be “unprecedented and illegal” for a state that signed that treaty to restore the death penalty.

“If the Philippines reinstates capital punishment, the county would be condemned for violating international law. It would be a great stigma,” he quoted University of Oxford criminology professor emeritus Sir Roger Hood and Leiden University law professor William Schabas as saying.

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TAGS: Criminals, Death penalty, Free Legal Assistance Group, International law, Jose Manuel Diokno, president elect, Rodrigo Duterte, William Schabas
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