Human rights group nixes return of death penalty

Published July 30, 2020, 12:41 PM

by Raymund Antonio

A human rights group said the poor would be the target of abuses should the capital punishment is restored in the country.

“Exacting genuine justice for crimes must not come at the expense of people’s rights and breeding more forms of injustice,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

“We strongly assert a just and rights-based approach in addressing crime — one that also addresses the root causes of such drug-related crimes in the first place,” she added.

Karapatan strongly opposed President Duterte’s proposal to revive the death penalty for crimes involving illegal drugs.

Duterte renewed his call to lawmakers to pass a law for the reimposition of death penalty during his State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.

In the 17th Congress, the House of Representatives gave its nod to House Bill 4727 reimposing capital punishment but it did not prosper in the Senate.

The group warned that reviving death penalty would only lead to more violence against poor Filipinos.

Karapatan also noted death penalty is not a deterrent to the crime as shown by local and international studies.

“Did the mass killings in the sham drug war stop the illegal drug trade in the country? No. Did the murderous rampage against peasants and indigenous peoples resolve the armed conflict in the country? No,” Palabay said.

She asserted the reimposition of capital punishment will violate the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines signed and ratified.