Death penalty ‘anti-poor, ineffective curb to criminality’—Makabayan
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Tuesday expressed its strong opposition to a bill which aims to restore the death penalty, or House Bill 4727.
“We are against this measure because it is anti-poor; a historic tool for suppressing political dissent; prone to abuse by corrupt police, military, and other state agents; and ultimately, an ineffective deterrent against criminality, rooted in mass poverty and an unjust social system,” Makabayan said in a statement.
The bloc reasoned that the bill is a “guillotine poised over the necks of the poor” who cannot afford an adequate legal representation, making the less fortunate populate death row, instead of the plunderers and human rights violators who have money and lawyers at their disposal.
Makabayan added that the death penalty is an instrument of political repression and is prone to abuse by corrupt state agents.
“We have seen corrupt members of Philippine National Police (PNP) have performed acts of extortion, kidnapping, extrajudicial killings, and other crimes, especially against the poor, in the name of this administration’s so-called war on drugs,” it said.
The militant bloc also said that reviving capital punishment will only provide more opportunities for extortion, planting evidence, and filing of trumped-up cases.
“Reimposition of the death penalty, combined with the move to lower criminal liability; the rampage of killings and thousands of suspected drug offenders from among the poor; and the continuing offensive military operations by state security forces are alarming signs of rising state of fascism in defense of an inequitable and unjust social order which the people must vigorously oppose,” it said.
Makabayan stated that the justice and penal system must be rehabilitative more than punitive, but this will not be realized “for as long as the government remains rotten to the core and mass poverty and social injustices prevail.”
The key in solving the illegal drugs trade and other activities proliferating in prisons is not the reimposition of death penalty, but the massive purge of corrupt and criminal officials in the police, military and civilian bureaucracy, the militant bloc added.
“Criminality is engendered by mass poverty and the unjust system of exploitation and oppression of the people by foreign and local elite. The return of death penalty will not address this,” Makabayan said. JE