NO TO THE REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES

NO TO THE REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE PHILIPPINES

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Karapatan Alliance Philippines started this petition to Citizens and

NO TO THE REIMPOSITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s call, in his fifth State of the Nation Address last July 27, for the swift passage of a law reimposing death penalty for offenses under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, numerous bills seeking to revive capital punishment are currently pending before the Philippine Congress.

The various measures involve the reimposition of the death penalty on offenses such as heinous crimes under Republic Act No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; the crimes of plunder, carnapping, hijacking, rape; and the crimes of treason, qualified piracy, rebellion or insurrection, coup d’état, malversation of public funds, parricide, murder, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery, estafa, and destructive arson, proposing the methods of  lethal injection, hanging or firing squad in carrying out the death sentence.

We oppose these bills seeking to reimpose the death penalty in the Philippines for it will not and will never curb nor eliminate crimes in the country but will only institutionalize the already ongoing State-sanctioned carnage of the poor. The reimposition of the death penalty, in our deeply flawed criminal justice system, is essentially a legislative fiat to the current spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, which will mostly affect the poor who have far less or no access to resources to defend themselves before courts. The death penalty disproportionately impacts on the poor sectors in Philippine society who were in death row due to various economic and social drivers such as economic status, educational attainment, and even longstanding issues on access to justice, including access to a competent legal counsel and to a fair trial.

We believe that such measures will not effectively deter commission of crimes. No credible research or study has been cited nor conducted in the proposals to reinstate the death penalty to support the assertion of the bills that the said measure will effectively deter the commission of crimes, including drug-related offenses or those related to rebellion and terrorism. Contrary to this, several studies, research and surveys states that capital punishment simply does not effectively deter crimes; the United Nations (UN) also concluded, based from their comprehensive studies and survey on the relationship between death penalty and homicide rates, that “research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater effect than life imprisonment.”

The reinstatement of the capital punishment will be against the international law, save for the fact that it will not effectively eliminate the commission of the crime in the country.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet stated, in her report to the UN Human Rights Council last June 2020, that the proposed bills including those which reinstates the death penalty for drug-related offenses would breach the obligations of the Philippines under the international human rights law, specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR  — which explicitly, absolutely, and permanently prohibits the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines —  both of which the Philippines has ratified.

We also emphasize the danger that the proposed measure will pose against human rights defenders, activists and political dissenters, as the capital punishment will be weaponized against imprisoned human rights defenders, activists, and political dissenters — many of whom are falsely charged with serious and heinous crimes, drug-related charges, to hide the political nature of their arrest and detention and to stigmatize them as ‘criminals’ to the public.

With a justice system that favors the moneyed and the powerful, death penalty will only increase the attacks against the poor. Under such a system, the death penalty, contrary to assertions that it seeks to protect human life, is actually a heinous violation of the right to life and the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment of the people.

We call on the members of Congress to oppose the pending measures reimposing the death penalty.

 

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