“This bloodthirsty regime fetishes death and violence, and Duterte strongly batting to reimpose death penalty is not surprising but no less infuriating — it’s as if the mass murder of the poor at the hands of the police in the sham drug war or in the hands of soldiers through the counterinsurgency program aren’t forms of death penalty already, while the rich, the regime’s most gung ho allies, and human rights violators can blatantly escape accountability without even an iota of remorse for their crimes.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Different cause-oriented groups expressed disagreement with President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to revive death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Human rights group Karapatan said that it would only “institutionalize the already ongoing State-sanctioned carnage of the poor.”
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said Duterte’s push of the measure during his annual address to the people “already speaks of the true state of the nation under Duterte: a nation suffering under the darkness of State-sponsored killings of the poor and attacks on people’s rights.”
“This bloodthirsty regime fetishes death and violence, and Duterte strongly batting to reimpose death penalty is not surprising but no less infuriating — it’s as if the mass murder of the poor at the hands of the police in the sham drug war or in the hands of soldiers through the counterinsurgency program aren’t forms of death penalty already, while the rich, the regime’s most gungho allies, and human rights violators can blatantly escape accountability without even an iota of remorse for their crimes,” Palabay said.
Justice system not for the poor
For fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, with the “current judicial system where impunity for the powerful prevails while ordinary folks are being deprived of legal due process, revival of the death penalty will mostly target the poor, not the rich and powerful criminals.”
Bayan Muna Partylist and Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Isagani Zarate also said that this will greatly impact those who cannot afford lawyers.
Zarate pointed out that studies have showed that “death penalty will not deter crimes especially in a corrupt justice system where the rich and the powerful get away with their crimes.”
“The immediate solution is systemic reforms of our justice system to eliminate corruption and delay, as well as stamp out impunity,” Zarate said.
He also added that one of the reasons for crime is poverty. Thus, he said that the most effective solution to deter crime is by lifting the people from poverty.
“If people have decent wages, and their family can eat three meals a day, have free education and health care, crime will surely go down,” Zarate said.
Leaders from Catholic and Protestant churches also expressed their opposition against the reviving of death penalty on drug-related crimes. They call on people of good will to join them in this fight.
“An attack on any human person, the image of God, is an attack on God,” they said in a statement.
“Nothing – neither human sin, nor injustice, nor evil, ‘nor anything else in creation can separate us from the saving love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Romans 8:39) This is the faith we confess, and we oppose the death penalty because it is contrary to the Christian principles of respect for human life, mercy, forgiveness and charity,” they added.
Among the signatories of the statement are Most Rev. Broderick S. Pabillo, D.D., Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Manila, Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary, National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Most Revd. Rhee M. Timbang,Obispo Maximo of Iglesia Filipina Independienteand The Rt. Rev. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., D.D. of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines.