I’ve always opposed the death penalty. I still do.
I’ve voted YES on California propositions seeking to abolish capital punishment.
I consider it barbaric, and it has not been proven to be a deterrent to crime.
(California rejected two initiatives to repeal the death penalty by popular vote in 2012 and 2016, and it adopted in 2016 another proposal to expedite its appeal process.)
Because the justice system is far from perfect, capital punishment can also result in the execution of people innocent of the crimes they have been charged. A study shows that one in 25 Americans executed is innocent. One innocent person executed is one too many.
Other studies also show that executions do not provide closure for the families of murder victims.
So when the Philippine House of Representatives recently passed a bill reinstating capital punishment, I was very disappointed. But I keep my hopes up that the Senate will reject the proposal.
But what equally bothers me is the fact that when the bill to reinstate the death penalty first came up in Congress, it included an initial list of 21 crimes such as rape, treason and plunder. The amended bill that passed the House is now limited to drug-related crimes and offenses.
When capital punishment was abolished under the 1987 Constitution, it included a caveat that it can be reinstated by Congress for “heinous crimes.”
By limiting capital punishment to drug-related crimes and offenses, Congress sends a wrong and dangerous message: that people who rape women and children, terrorists who cause death and injury to innocent civilians, people who destabilize our government and country, people who commit treason for personal gain and politicians who rob the country of money and resources should be dealt with more leniency. How can our elected lawmakers even sleep tight with the proposed law they have overwhelmingly approved?
Have they done this merely to jump into the bandwagon of support for President Duterte and his war on drugs? Can they honestly defend what they approved?
Our lawmakers must be accountable for their actions. Their constituents deserve nothing less.