Lacson junks death penalty, pushes life imprisonment, penal reforms

Lacson junks death penalty, pushes life imprisonment, penal reforms

By Ernie Reyes

DNA India caricature courtesy

MANILA — Better to spare the life of a criminal than to wrongly
execute an innocent person.

On this note, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson changed his stance on the
death penalty for heinous crimes, even as he pushed for life
imprisonment and penal reforms as a better alternative.

“Mas matimbang ang ma-save ang buhay ng wrongly convicted. So nagbago
ang aking pananaw, iwi-withdraw ko ang aking na-file na bill (It is
more important to save the life of a wrongly convicted person. That
said, I will withdraw the bill I filed on the death penalty),” Lacson said
at the first LACSON-SOTTO media forum on Thursday.

Lacson said that after giving the matter long thought – especially
after watching the program “The Life of David Gale,” he decided that
there are better solutions than execution even of those convicted of
heinous crimes like drug-related offenses.

He supported Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s suggestion to
confine drug lords in a “supermax” penitentiary, with no means of
communication with the outside world.

“Napakaganda ng suggestion ni Senate President Sotto. Magdurusa habang
buhay at walang gagawin kundi magsisi. Kung habang buhay hanggang
mamatay sa kulungan (Senate President Sotto’s suggestion is very good.
Let the convicts be imprisoned for life, nothing to do but to regret
their crimes for the rest of their lives),” Lacson said.

But Lacson also said it is important to reform the penitentiary
system, to prevent a repeat of favors being granted to moneyed
convicts.

“We should reform the penitentiary system. Better that the guilty be
imprisoned for life than to have innocents executed because of a wrong
judgment,” he said. (ai/mtvn)

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