Lawmaker says reimposition of death penalty to work against OFWs on death row
STEPPING UP his case against the reimposition of the death penalty, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said yesterday that executing criminals would also work against Filipinos who are on death row overseas.
In a statement, Atienza said the reimposition of the death penalty would take away the country’s “moral high ground” in appealing to other countries to spare the lives of Filipinos convicted of crimes.
“One of the many ramifications [of the return of the death penalty] is that the Philippine government would be deprived of the moral high ground when it comes to our official appeals for clemency for our citizens facing execution abroad,” Atienza said.
The lawmaker said it would be difficult to seek “compassion” from the other governments if the Philippine government itself executed its own convicted criminals.
Citing records from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Atienza said there were 88 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row, mostly in Malaysia and China.
He noted that eight of the top 10 destinations of land-based OFWs imposed the death penalty “and aggressively carried out executions.” These were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Qatar, Kuwait, Taiwan, Malaysia and Bahrain, Atienza said, citing data from the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).
The other top two destinations for OFWs—Canada and Hong Kong—do not have a death penalty.