The death penalty dies a natural death

The long time attempts to revive the death penalty in the country was given a glimmer of hope in the lower house as the House of Representatives managed to get a bare majority through on the second reading of the bill. However, the said bill died a natural death in the upper house as the Senate failed to unite with a single voice for its revival.

There is no need to reiterate the long debated issues on the morality (or the lack of it) of the death penalty, human rights, the right to life, and the list goes on of the repeated arguments to trample the most brutal form of capital punishment. Nor is there a need to dwell on the emotionally charged arguments raised by human rights victims and their advocates, the main theme pointing to the ease of fighting for the rights of criminals until you, or someone close to you, become one of their victims.

What is seriously wrong with the Philippine version of the death penalty is its focus on drug related crimes, at the neglect of all other heinous crimes plaguing the nation. The drafted bill that made it past the lower house was clearly an attempt to validate the controversial extrajudicial killings which have made the current administration notoriously popular with the international community.

Laws should be based on reason and they should be made to address long term problems of the whole nation – and not just to satisfy the whims of a current administration. Laws should not single out a certain category of crimes when there are other crimes equally deserving of the same penalty.

The death penalty is not wrong per se – there is just something wrong with the Philippine version.

 
REFERENCES:

http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2017/05/12/1699242/where-nations-stand-ejks-death-penalty-philippines

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/12/1680336/senate-asked-dump-death-penalty-revival

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/868760/8-senators-express-opposition-to-death-penalty

RELATED ARTICLES:

The possible rebirth of the death penalty
https://aml1205.wordpress.com/2016/05/29/the-possible-rebirth-of-the-death-penalty/

Reciprocal death penalty
https://aml1205.wordpress.com/2015/04/26/reciprocal-death-penalty/

Justice, Davao Death Squad style
https://aml1205.wordpress.com/2015/06/14/justice-davao-death-squad-style/

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THE POSSIBLE REBIRTH OF THE DEATH PENALTY

Its official – for the first time in Philippine history, a candidate from the Muslim dominated province of Mindanao has won the presidential throne. Its official – history repeats itself as the son of a former dictator loses an election to a widow clad in yellow.

Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his support for the death penalty, a stand that is unlikely to change at any time soon, what with the drug related events plaguing the country even before his formal inauguration. Duterte has been a reputed advocate of extrajudicial killings even before winning the presidency. He apparently has no sympathy for people who are killed because their crimes caught up with them.

The death penalty is currently suspended. There was an attempt at its restoration, but only for the most heinous crimes as allowed by the current constitution. Unfortunately, congress never got around to a definition of what qualifies as ‘heinous’ crimes. As an alternative, the law imposes life imprisonment – a guarantee that a criminal, who has committed what may qualify as a heinous crime, will never get out of jail – but not a guarantee that he will never roam the streets again and commit an equally perverted act either by escaping or, by some miracle, being granted a presidential pardon.

Philippine criminal law is enshrined in the culture of reformation. The country’s penal system imposes imprisonment with the intention of giving criminals a chance to correct their ways. What the law fails to address is that circumstance wherein a criminal is perverted to an extent that all attempts at reformation has failed. Yes, there are criminals who have been in and out of prison, either for the same or different crimes. Is imprisonment still a solution when it obviously has no effect.?

This article submits that it is time to revisit the death penalty. Yes, it is an extreme penalty to be imposed only after a thorough consideration. A penalty that should be imposed only after all attempts at reformation has failed. True, even criminals are entitled to human rights. But the government has an obligation to give all other humans within their jurisdiction a peaceful and orderly society.

The support for the death penalty as a last resort is inspired by the balancing of rights doctrine – the human rights of a criminal who has no respect for the rights of everyone else, is outweighed by the right of everyone else to peace and order – a peace and order which can only be attained if the society is freed from habitual criminals who adamantly refuse to straighten their path.

References:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/750698/duterte-wants-death-penalty-back

http://armageddonviews.weebly.com/blog/death-penalty-moral-and-judicial-debate-under-the-philippine-government

http://www.philstar.com/sunday-life/169059/are-you-or-against-death-penalty

Reciprocal death penalty

Another one of our citizens is about to be meted the death penalty via firing squad for smuggling drugs into Indonesia.

The Philippine government has suspended the imposition of the death penalty. Not that it matters, since there was only one occasion when the death penalty was actually carried out – on a father convicted for incestuous rape, and the execution was televised. Not unexpectedly, the pro-life advocates condemned the execution. Interestingly, not everyone joined them.

The disturbing reality is this: the death penalty is a necessary evil meant for the most hardened criminals who have become immune to the spirit of reformation behind lighter penalties. But the Philippine government does not have the moral fiber to carry out such an inhuman act. Arguably, this lack of tenacity has led to the proliferation of heinous crimes and criminals, and the congestion of prison cells with convicts who should be dead if the iron hand of the law could strangle the life out of them.

Moreover, foreign citizens smuggle drugs into the country and get away scott free, while Filipino citizens face death for committing the same crime in their country.

Seriously now, the Philippine government should impose the death penalty – at least in the spirit of reciprocity.