“It is inhuman, cruel and degrading. It denies rehabilitation. It runs contrary to international standards and treaties.”
These were the arguments raised by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc against the moves to restore the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines.
Palpal-latoc said that those who are in favor of the death penalty defend it by saying that it is society's obligation to protect the safety and security of its citizens.
However, Palpal-latoc said that the capital punishment does not really offer the citizens any extra protection. In fact, he stressed that death penalty “does more harm than good.”
"We acknowledge the fact that there is no evidence that shows that death penalty is a deterrent on crime. Crimes persisted despite the possible imposition of severe penalty," he said.
"Death penalty does not improve crime rates and it also creates further problems in the disadvantaged, marginalized, and vulnerable sectors of society," he pointed out.
At the same time, Palpal-latoc lamented that those who face execution are mostly from the poor since they have no access to competent lawyers or a decent education that can empower them about their rights.
He cited that even the Supreme Court recognized in People vs Mateo that the error rate in imposing the death sentence is 71.77 percent. Thus, he said this only proves that the death penalty is disproportionately disadvantageous to the poor.
He also cited that when facts about the death penalty and its impact on society were presented, seven out of 10 Filipinos were against death penalty.
Death penalty was deleted in the country’s statute books by Republic Act No. 9346 which was signed into law by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
RA 9346 repealed RA 8177, the Act Designating Death Penalty by Lethal Injection, and RA 7659, the Death Penalty Law.
Published reports stated that there are six pending bills in Congress seeking the restoration of death penalty. Of these bills, four are reportedly in the Senate while the two others are in the House of Representatives.
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