1,020 death convicts await execution
- Sandy Araneta () - October 22, 2001 - 12:00am
While the Catholic Church calls for the abolition of capital punishment, 1,020 death convicts – seven of them minors – await their fate at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City and the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City.

Records show a 17-year-old girl, whose conviction for kidnapping was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court, is on death row at the Correctional Institute, along with 26 adult inmates.

One female prisoner has been taken to the nearby National Center for Mental Health, also in Mandaluyong, after she was said to have gone out of her mind.

Quoting government records, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC) said seven of the 27 female prisoners are already senior citizens.

Of the 1,020 death convicts, 993 are men who were imprisoned at the National Penitentiary for various heinous crimes like murder, kidnapping, robbery with homicide, illegal possession of drugs, and drug trafficking.

Lawyer Theodore Te, national board member of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), said judges who had sentenced minors to death can be administratively charged with gross ignorance of the law.

"However, only those who are directly affected by the decision such as the defense lawyer or the family members (of the minor) could file a case against these judges," he said.

Te said the judge should impose the death penalty based on the minor’s age when he committed the crime, and not how old he was at the time of sentencing.

"This means if the case should drag on for years, their conviction should be based on the age when the crime was committed, not after," he said.

"For example, if a child was charged with murder at age 15, and his case drags on for years until the age of 19, the penalty should be based on when his age was still 15, considered as minor, and not 19," Te said.

ECPPC executive secretary Rodolfo Diamante said policemen and other law enforcers have ignored Presidential Decree 603, the Child and Youth Welfare Code, which provides for the treatment of minors during investigation and trial, and where they should be sent after being found guilty.

"Based on the law, arrested minors should not be handcuffed," he said. "The minor should be interrogated in the presence of a representative of the Department of Social Welfare and Community Development and a lawyer. A minor should also be detained separated from adults, even if he is convicted of a heinous crime."

A child could be affected psychologically if he was not treated well during investigation and while he was in detention at the police station, he added.

Also on death row are 12 Chinese men, a Japanese, and an American at the National Penitentiary, and a Chinese woman at the Correctional Institution for Women.

The CBCP said the conviction of 31 inmates was upheld by the Supreme Court as of September 4 this year, and that the decision in one case had already become final. Sandy Araneta

CATHOLIC BISHOPS CHILD AND YOUTH WELFARE CODE CONFERENCE OF THE PHILIPPINES CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT EPISCOPAL COMMISSION FREE LEGAL ASSISTANCE GROUP NATIONAL PENITENTIARY SUPREME COURT
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with