Infographic courtesy by International Federation for Human Rights
By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged her Senate
colleagues, who have given their support for the reimposition of the
death penalty for heinous crimes, to reconsider their stand and adopt
a mindset of restorative justice instead.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, reiterated her
firm stand against restoration of capital punishment as she welcomed
Sen. Ping Lacson’s withdrawal of his authorship of a measure seeking
to reinstate death penalty in the country.
“Wonderful that Sen. Ping has changed his position on death penalty.
Indeed, it’s far worse to execute, and even just jail, an innocent
human being,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“I humbly ask the rest of my colleagues to reconsider their support
for this unchristian and anti-poor measure and adopt a mindset of
restorative justice,” she added in a separate statement. “Let us all
say no to death penalty which gives a mass murderer more license to
kill, kill, kill!”
In his letter dated Nov. 8 to Senate Secretary Atty. Myra Villarica,
Lacson reportedly requested that Senate Bill No. 27, or “An Act
Reinstituting the Death Penalty in the Philippines,” no longer be
considered for deliberations by the Committees on Justice and Human
Rights, and on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.
Presidential aspirant Lacson, along with his running mate in next
year’s elections, Sen. Tito Sotto, recently said they no longer
support capital punishment but prefer lifetime imprisonment instead.
The two were both known to be staunch advocates of the death penalty.
It can be noted that Duterte and his allies in Congress have
consistently pushed for the reinstatement of the death penalty.
De Lima, a staunch anti-death penalty advocate, has reiterated her
firm and unwavering position that the death penalty is not the solution,
as it does not deter criminality.
“Honest-to-goodness, corruption-free law enforcement and certainty of
punishment is the real deterrents,” De Lima insisted.
“There have been documented and verified cases of wrongful convictions
and wrongful executions even in jurisdictions with fairly advanced
criminal justice system. With our country’s flawed justice system,
executing an innocent person – an irreversible tragedy – is a real
possibility,” she added.
De Lima further urged her colleagues to revisit and help push for the
passage of her measure imposing qualified reclusion Perpetua on
extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder, as well
as other pending measures on prison reforms.
“As the efficacy and morality of the death penalty is questionable at
best, there is a need to legislate an alternative punishment against
extraordinary heinous crimes.
“As I’ve stressed in my Proposed Senate Bill No. 187, the penalty of
qualified reclusion Perpetua and a fine of ₱5,000,000.00, will send a
clear message that we do not take heinous crimes lightly nor do we
condone those who perpetrate them,” she said.
In said Bill, De Lima proposes the punishment of life imprisonment,
without the possibility of parole, be meted out for extraordinary
heinous crimes in lieu of the death penalty, which she said have failed
to prove as an effective deterrent against heinous crimes.
If enacted into law, De Lima’s measure will impose the penalty of
qualified reclusion Perpetua on persons found guilty of treason,
piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention,
robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive
arson, rape, plunder, and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. The
measure also covers other extraordinary heinous crimes. (ai/mtvn)