Pro-life coalition formed vs death penalty revival

MANILA, Philippines – Pro-life advocates have formed a coalition to oppose moves by the House of Representatives to revive capital punishment in line with President Duterte’s tough stance against criminality, opposition lawmakers bared yesterday.  

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said there has been a “widening coalition of legislators, religious ministers both from the Catholic Church and other religious denominations, civil society and NGO networks, and college students and youth” opposing the reimposition of the death penalty.

“The broad coalition of anti-death penalty advocates will sustain the campaign against the proposed reimposition of capital punishment until the archaic proposal is finally consigned to the legislative dustbin,” he said.

Lagman stressed that death penalty is not a solution to criminality and the drug menace.

“The prevention of heinous crimes involves a complex and multidimensional process relative to problems ranging from poverty and inequity to police corruption and brutality, inept and discriminatory prosecution, and flawed judicial system,” he explained.

“All of these negative factors contribute to the fallibility of human justice, which ensnare to the gallows even the innocent. Consequently, punishment alone is not the solution to crimes,” he added.

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Another opposition legislator, Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list, also hit Duterte’s plan to execute through lethal injection five to six convicts a day.

“It will sink the Philippines into an unprecedented era of darkness and medieval savagery. If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” Atienza said.

Duterte’s execution plan means that more than 2,000 will be undergoing state-sanctioned killings per year. Compare this to the 1,634 convicts executed in 25 countries around the world in 2015 recorded by Amnesty International (AI)

Excluding China, only three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – were responsible for nearly 90 percent of the executions.

Iran executed 977 convicts by hanging in 2015, Pakistan put 326 to death by hanging, while Saudi Arabia killed 158 by beheading. The number of executions in China is regarded a state secret.

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