Rising of the Phoenix from its Ashes
In probability theory, you’re certain that you can get either one of the two faces of the coin, heads or tail. This is analogous to coming up a decision regarding a difficult issue, like bringing back the death penalty where outcomes are seemingly determinate, that it can deter crimes or not. On the other hand, President-elect Duterte is now calling for the revival of capital punishment, not to deter crimes but as a form of justice. Filipinos have varied reaction to this issue and this has stirred debate in all classes of people. Human rights advocates were making noises to show strong negation of invoking death penalty.
Philippines has had a history of invoking and scrapping capital punishment since the end of World War II. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/785954/in-the-know-death-penalty) The surrounding issues of the revival of capital punishment were properly scrutinized by the lawmakers, especially the critiques of the bill through lengthy debates. To recall, national crime volume was still on the rise during the time of the ousted president Joseph Estrada, albeit the fact that the death penalty was imposed. With the campaigns against capital punishment, a de facto moratorium on capital punishment was issued by him.
What is the new proposed death penalty? Is it the right time to bring it back? What for?
What is HB (House Bill) 4727?
The proposed measure aims to revive the death penalty, but only for drug-related crimes, except for mere possession of illegal drugs. This after treason, plunder, and rape were removed from the list of crimes punishable by death. (http://cnnphilippines.com/news/2017/03/01/House-approves-death-penalty-second-reading.html)
Reviving Death Penalty
What's your take on the death penalty issue?
Where do I stand on the issue?
President Rodrigo Duterte strongly pushes capital punishment, prompting to the creation of House Bill 4727. The bill had earned supporters from the majority bloc of the House, which led to its approval on the second reading via viva voce.
If there are pleased with the passing of the bill on the 2nd reading, lawmakers from the opposition and Catholic Church leaders expressed their extreme disapproval of the move to revive capital punishment. For Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman and other opposition lawmakers, House Bill 4727 is not the solution to address the crime problem. (http://www.rappler.com/nation/161651-rappler-talk-edcel-lagman-death-penalty). Representative Lagman further added that, “While no time is right and ripe for pushing for the imposition of the death penalty, now is the worst of times to enact the revival of capital punishment when scalawag cops are the very felons, and rogues in robes preside over the life or death of citizens.” (http://www.rappler.com/nation/160875-edcel-lagman-speech-against-death-penalty-bill-full-text)
ABS-CBN, one Philippines’ biggest network, published an article entitled, “Death Penalty shameful for Catholic Philippines”, where the voice of the Catholic Church leader was heard. Archbishop Socrates Villegas decried the plan to reinstate capital punishment, and stressed that the bill is against the teachings of Catholicism. He encourages the lawmakers in using their conscience in deciding for the issue. “Walk for Life” was also organized to let anyone see their stand over the resurrection of capital punishment in the country.
I am a supporter of President Duterte's fight against drugs and criminality, but I cannot just take a blind-eye on the death penalty issue. Rappler.com shared the compelling reasons why we should not open Pandora ’s Box. Rappler.com provided the following reasons to never bring back the death penalty:
That there is a supporting data that proved that the death penalty is ineffective in bringing down the increasing crime rates, therefore, this does not solve the rising criminality. There is empirical evidence that supports the positive correlation between poverty and the rising crime incidence. Rappler urges the need to address social injustices and to combat poverty, especially, which is said to be the core of the problem. Deterrence of crime rates also requires a multi-faceted reforms at the level of judiciary, police and prosecutorial.
The death penalty bill violates the right to life more than ever the life of the innocent. The poor will be on the lopsided position once the bill will take into place. Rappler.com quoted that, “The death penalty further marginalizes and victimizes the poor who can neither retain competent counsel nor influence court processes. The unassailable data is that the poor overly populate death rows worldwide. This is the same data in the New Bilibid Prison’s death row before the death penalty was abolished in 2006 by RA Number 9346.”(http://www.rappler.com/nation/160875-edcel-lagman-speech-against-death-penalty-bill-full-text)
Article 3 of the Philippine Constitution safeguards our right as a citizen of the country, supports reclusion perpetua over the death penalty. There are ample of things at stake upon the revival of the capital punishment, our seat in the U.N., our ability to negotiate with the government of other countries in stopping the execution of a fellow-Filipino, and the economic privileges we enjoyed on our export products to countries that are members of the European Union.
The phoenix must not rise from its ashes anymore. Our mistakes from the past must not be repeated; the lessons from it must not be forgotten.