Death penalty no deterrent, says maverick Branson
British billionaire and philanthropist Richard Branson is known as a maverick, having grown his Virgin Group business empire in unconventional ways.
But even Branson, who returned to Manila on Wednesday after two decades to speak to Filipino businessmen, draws the line when human rights are involved.
“The death penalty is not a deterrent,” Branson told about 800 businessmen who attended the ABS-CBN News Channel’s first Asian Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum held at the Sofitel Manila.
Most of the crowd paid anywhere between P20,000 to P35,000 each to hear the flamboyant visionary, whose latest project involves making space travel affordable to all, share his thoughts on business and success.
But aware of the plan of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to reintroduce capital punishment, Branson also spoke about the death penalty, saying it is not a deterrent to crime.
Even the United States, which has a “relatively good judicial system,” got it wrong years ago, when DNA-based evidence was not yet allowed, Branson said.
“In countries where you can’t 100 percent trust … the courts, the last thing you should have is the death penalty, and it’s not a deterrent anyway,” he said.
“I don’t think society can risk executing innocent people and I hope this new government will think twice about that,” he added.
Instead of executing criminals, Branson said they should be locked up “for life without any chance of coming out on the street again.”
The topic on the death penalty came up during the business forum as Branson noted the global war on drugs has “been a complete failure.”
He said jurisdictions would have less of a chance resolving the drug problem if approached in a “repressive” way rather than an approach seeking to reform addicts. Miguel R. Camus
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