By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte made another pitch for the revival of death penalty as the government moved on Wednesday to re-arrest hundreds of convicts released early for good behavior.
The President said criminals should be haled to court and made to face the cheaper method of death by hanging instead of ending up “salvaged.”
“I’ve been insisting on that (death penalty). Or would you just rather na patayin kita [I kill you] if you are not put, you know, in a place where you can no longer harm anybody,” Duterte said during a press conference in Malacanang, when asked if he would push for the re-imposition of death penalty in the country.
“Eh kaysa i-salvage kita, punta ka na lang sa korte. At least electric chair doon or maybe death by hanging. Mas mura eh [Rather than I kill you, you should go to court. At least there’s an electric chair or maybe death by hanging, which is cheaper],” he added.
Duterte, a former state prosecutor, explained that that he believes in retributive justice for those who violated the law.
“Sabi ko give society a relief, a chance also na to — sanction ‘yan eh. Ako dito ako sa classic theory. You pay, retribution. Dito sa positivist, they can be rehabilitated, they should be released [I said, give society a relief, a chance also to .. that’s a sanction. I’m with the classic theory that you pay retribution. For the positivists, they can be rehabilitated, they should be released],” he said.
Duterte said he has seen many repeat offenders, particularly rapists who were released but end up committing another offense. “Anong gusto ninyo? Patayin ko o sundin mo lang ‘yung batas? Allow the law to take its course [What do you want? I kill you or you follow the law? Allow the law to take its course],” he added.
The President fired on Wednesday night the country’s top prison chief over the bungled release of convicts, including those involved in heinous crimes, for alleged good conduct. He claimed that Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon disobeyed his order not to release the concerned convicts from jail under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law.
Duterte also urged more than 1,7000 freed convicts to surrender to authorities in 15 days either for re-computation of their prison time or for investigation to determine if corruption was involved in their release.
If they refuse to surrender, Duterte warned that they would be rearrested by authorities even without an arrest warrant. He added that he was mulling a P1 million bounty for the capture of every convict, dead or alive.
“Ako ‘yung Presidente. So there’s a fire burning. Eh kung sino — hindi ako magtanong kung sino ang nagsunog. Eh bumbero ako, pupunta ako to put out the fire [I am the President. There is fire burning. I will not ask who started the fire. I am the fire fighter, I should go and put out the fire],” he said.
“In this case, not really to put out the case but to have it investigated thoroughly and the best way to do it is really is for the Ombudsman to take over,” he added