Solitary confinement worse than death–Zubiri
Returning Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said on Wednesday he would file a bill for the creation of an “Alcatraz-style” penitentiary for convicts of heinous crimes, saying he believed that the prospect of being isolated for the rest of a criminal’s life may well be scarier than capital punishment.
“I’m also hopeful and hoping that maybe, instead of pushing for a death penalty law, we could also rehabilitate the [Bureau of Corrections]. For me, it’s lifetime isolation of prisoners,” Zubiri said, adding that his proposal would be to construct cells measuring two by four meters.
“The toilet is there, they will eat there, they will never be able to get out. I think it’s scarier if you learn you won’t be able to talk to anyone for the rest of your life,” said Zubiri.
Zubiri is the second lawmaker to vouch for the idea. Re-elected Senator Vicente Sotto III had also pitched for a prison island for convicted drug traffickers, arguing that high-profile inmates are reportedly still able to do business even while inside New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Sotto has vowed to refile Senate Bill No. 3326 as soon as the 17th Congress resumes accepting bills on July 1. The measure seeks to put convicts of heinous crimes in a segregated facility, an alternative solution to putting them to death, as proposed by incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.
Zubiri was once in favor of reviving capital punishment, even filing bills for its reimposition during his time as a junior lawmaker at the House of Representatives. He has however since turned around.
“I’ve renewed my faith with the Catholic Church. I’m a Marian devotee. I’ve reconsidered my position on death penalty if only we could build a multi-billion facility a la Alcatraz where [the criminals] can’t ever leave, they are in isolation, and [the prison] is not like a country club,” he said.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished death penalty in 2006, and calls for its reimposition have not succeeded in the predominantly Catholic country.
But Duterte, known for his fierce anti-crime stance, has publicly spoken about his intent to push Congress to revive the death penalty.
Duterte’s allied lawmakers, who have vowed to pursue his legislative agenda, are expected to wield control over a “super majority” in both chambers.
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