Call off moves to revive death penalty, Karapatan urges legislators

Photo by Romeo Ranoco/Reuters

Rights group Karapatan urged legislators in Philippine Congress to call off moves to revive death penalty, as more withdraw their support for the reimposition of capital punishment in the country.

“We urge legislators in the Lower House and the Senate who have previously pushed for the revival of death penalty to withdraw their support and move to dispense any further action that push to enact the pending bills reviving the death penalty. We hope that recent pronouncements made by former proponents and supporters of death penalty, as well as those who maintained their strong opposition to it, will pave the way to finally withdraw the bills filed in Congress,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Karapatan welcomed the withdrawal of support for the revival of death penalty made by presidential candidates Sen. Panfilo Lacson and Sen. Manny Pacquiao, as well as vice-presidential candidate Sen. Vicente Sotto III. The group also expressed support for Sen. Leila de Lima’s call to fellow senators to reconsider their position supporting the revival of death penalty, and stand for restorative justice.

“We call on other members of Congress to withdraw their authorship and support to bills reviving death penalty, and publicly declare that they choose to pursue reforms in the justice system, and to uphold people’s rights and civil liberties. We challenge them to do it now, and show their support for the people’s clamor for genuine justice amid the sad state of human rights in the country,” said Palabay.

There are at least six bills in the Senate that propose to reimpose the death penalty in the country. Aside from Lacson and Sotto’s propositions, other bills were filed by senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Imee Marcos, Manny Pacquiao ang Ramon “Bong” Revilla.

In the House of Representatives, at least 12 bills were filed in 2020, seeking to revive death penalty.

“We continue to stand firm against the reimposition of capital punishment in the country. It is extremely dangerous, an affront to human rights and civil liberties, and an ineffective deterrent to crime, contrary to the propositions of those advocating for its reimposition,” Palabay reiterated.

Palabay also said that 2022 election aspirants should also be urged upfront to categorically state their opposition against death penalty.

“We assert that opposition to death penalty should not remain as lip service. We call out candidates for a complete rejection of the policy of ‘kill, kill, kill’ targeted against the people, which the Duterte regime considered a norm under its term. Instead of addressing the root causes of crime and injustice, the people suffered more under a government that incites attacks against the people, while those who enjoy impunity get away with their crimes,” Palabay said.