MANILA, Philippines (MDN National News) — President Rodrigo Duterte during his state of the nation address (SONA) has pushed again for the revival of death penalty thru lethal injection.
But this time, the president has specified the death penalty is specially for drug related cases in the country, wherein despite of the pandemic and massive arrest made by law enforcers, still continued to exist.
The President said during this fifth Sona at Batasang Pambansa: “I reiterate the swift passage of the law reviving the death penalty by lethal injection for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.”
Duterte said reviving the death penalty will help instill fear among criminals involve in heinous crimes and drug trafficking.
The death penalty ended in 2006.
According to Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP) the country is among the 140 countries of the world that abolished or ended the death penalty law, either in practice or in law. Yet, President Duterte wants to reinstate capital punishment, citing among others, the proliferation of drug traffickers in the country due to very lenient laws.
PAP has presented arguments in its website to support its position, citing among others:
1. Observations about the practice of capital punishment point to its discriminatory nature. In the Philippines, it is typically the poorer sector who get this ultimate penal sanction. The majority of those sentenced to die have incomes below minimum wage (FLAG, 2000), unable to afford the legal services to defend themselves in a long process (CHR, 2007). Poorer, less educated Filipinos would not have the intellectual preparedness to think through ways of defending themselves (Te, 1996). This places them at a serious disadvantage.
2. Judicial flaws compromise the validity of the death penalty. These may include incompetent counsel, inadequate investigatory services, or even outright police and prosecutorial violations of judicial procedures. In the Philippines, torture or ill treatment of suspects to coerce confessions or to implicate others is commonplace. Victims often fail to lodge complaints against the police due to intimidation, fear of reprisals, and lack of funds (Amnesty International, 2002).
3. History also points to gross misapplications of the death penalty law, with vulnerable individuals protected by Philippine law from capital punishment finding themselves on death row. In 2003, there were 7 children in death row along with adult convicts (Amnesty International, 2003). The year 2000 saw 5 persons aged 70 or over in death row (FLAG, 2000, cited in Amnesty International, 2002). These examples show that it is not always certain whether the right person is convicted and, in this light, the death penalty is too high a price to pay when innocent people are convicted.