With killing of drug suspects, is death penalty needed?
In a country where summary killings of suspected criminals has become commonplace, is there still a need to revive the death penalty?
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman posed the question on Wednesday at a meeting of the House justice subcommittee on judicial reforms, which was hearing seven bills seeking the restoration of capital punishment for heinous crimes.
The subcommittee members were discussing procedural matters with regard to the questioning of resource persons from the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, and other stakeholders when Lagman raised the query.
He said he wished to ask PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa, who was absent but had sent representatives to the meeting, “whether as far as the PNP is concerned, with rampant and unabated extrajudicial killings, whether they still need the death penalty.”
The move to restore the death penalty is one of the priority legislative agenda of President Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said in a recent interview in Japan he hoped to see the measure pass by December.
At Wednesday’s hearing, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption founding chair Dante Jimenez expressed his backing for capital punishment.
He said that the argument was not a deterrent to crime was misleading. “The crime deterrence factor of the death penalty is clear in history,” he said, citing a decline in drug trafficking when a drug lord was executed during Martial Law.
“Since the dawn of civilization the death penalty in varying modes of execution and for different crimes including pickpocketing in England was an additional punishment for crimes. Is this true?” he asked.
To which Jimenez replied: “I don’t have an idea honestly… I was born in 1952.”
Irked by Jimenez’ sarcasm, Lagman said: “I will not further question this witness with this kind of answer,” prompting the presiding chair to ask the VACC leader to answer questions courteously.
Jimenez then apologized, saying he was just being honest and meant no offense.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.