File photo shows Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra in a press conference at the Department of Justice office in Padre Faura, Manila.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File
Guevarra says death penalty may ‘somehow deter’ crimes
( - July 23, 2019 - 6:02pm

MANILA, Philippines — Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said bringing back death penalty—a priority of President Rodrigo Duterte—could prevent serious crimes in some ways.

“I believe that the imposition of the death penalty may somehow deter the commission of serious crimes,” Guevarra said Tuesday.

His expression of support for the proposal came a day after Duterte urged lawmakers to reinstate death penalty for heinous crimes related to drugs and plunder.

“Indeed it is difficult to measure or prove a negative proposition; who will ever know how many crimes did not happen because of the fear of the death penalty?” Guevarra said.

The justice chief added: “But ordinary human behavior indicates that the fear of being put to death for the commission of crime will naturally prompt a criminally minded person to think twice.”

Guevarra also said the Constitution allows Congress to impose death penalty for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes.

“It is therefore up to Congress to determine the parameters of what constitutes a heinous crime,” he said.

The death penalty passed the House of Representatives in the previous 17th Congress but it faced strong opposition from senators.

However, the landslide victory of Duterte’s allies in the 2019 midterm elections is seen to open a path for the enactment of a return of capital punishment in the Philippines.

Individuals who are against the proposal insisted that death penalty is not deterrent to crime and is “anti-poor.”

“What is really deterrent to all kinds of crime is fixing the country’s criminal justice system. The real deterrent is the certainty that a suspected criminal will be arrested, prosecuted and condemned,” Sen. Risa Hontiveros said Monday. — Gaea Katreena Cabico 

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