On World Day Against the Death Penalty, Karapatan asserts opposition to gov’t measures reinstating capital punishment in PH

In commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty today, October 10, human rights alliance Karapatan renewed its call to oppose the proposed measures seeking the reimposition of capital punishment in the country. Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor asserted that “bringing back death penalty in the Philippines — especially under a murderous regime and amid the worsening human rights situation in the country — is an extremely dangerous proposition, with grave implications on our rights and civil liberties.”

“Reimposing capital punishment will only provide a legal blanket for the rabid ‘kill, kill kill’ policy’ of the Duterte administration, from the sham and bloody drug war to its murderous rampage of State terrorism against human rights defenders, activists, and dissenters. We stand against the death penalty as those in government that seek to bring back such gruesome punishment will only use this against the poor and those that it tags as ‘enemies’ of the State,” Clamor stated.

Twelve bills seeking to revive death penalty in the country are currently pending before the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, with some bills specifying any of the following methods in carrying out the death sentence through lethal injection, hanging, or firing squad. President Rodrigo Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address last July 27, 2020, highlighted as a priority in his legislative agenda the swift passage of a law seeking the reimposition of death penalty through lethal injection for offenses under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

In the webinar titled “Death Penalty Redux: Legislating Death in the Philippines” today, Karapatan joined youth groups and faith-based formations in registering their opposition to such measures, for death penalty is “a visibly anti-poor policy which disproportionately impacts the poor and marginalized sectors in our society” and that, “as several research, surveys, and studies clearly show, capital punishment is an ineffective deterrent to crime — contrary to the propositions of those advocating for its reimposition.”

Furthermore, the Karapatan officer said that legalizing death penalty “deliberately violates international human rights instruments and the Philippine government’s international human rights obligations” such as the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Philippines ratified in 2007. Amid intensifying international scrutiny on the human rights crisis in the Philippines, Clamor further stated that the Duterte administration’s bid for the reimposition of death penalty “shows the insincerity of the government in upholding human rights and civil liberties.”

“We have a bankrupt justice system that is being increasingly used to cover up the State’s crimes against the poor, to facilitate fascist attacks on human rights defenders and dissent, and ultimately to favor those in power. Bringing back death penalty in such a cruel, heartless, and brutal system will only worsen the already dismal situation of human rights in the Philippines. Karapatan strongly asserts that death penalty is not the answer to crime — and the government should strive instead to comprehensively address the root causes of crime through an approach that respects and puts at the forefront people’s rights and welfare,” he ended.

Watch the webinar live on our Facebook page through this link: https://www.facebook.com/karapatan/videos/971737093332291/