Heinous crime victims have rights, too – lawmaker
“Unfortunately, while (human rights advocates) talk about the human rights of the offenders, they remarkably skip talking about and defending the human rights of the victims,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers lamented over the weekend.
The STAR/Krizjohn Rosales, file
Heinous crime victims have rights, too – lawmaker
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An administration lawmaker is pushing his argument to support calls for the reimposition of capital punishment in the country, saying victims of heinous crimes have human rights, too, and not just the suspects.

“Unfortunately, while (human rights advocates) talk about the human rights of the offenders, they remarkably skip talking about and defending the human rights of the victims,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers lamented over the weekend.

He said it is ironic that “now we are even threatened with sanctions by our fellow Filipino lawmakers and other human rights officials, speaking in behalf of other countries, that if we reimpose the death penalty we will be sanctioned by other nations.”

“Last time I checked, we are a sovereign nation. Last time I checked too, this is called sovereignty. That is why we have our own Constitution - and it allows death penalty,” said Barbers, chairman of the dangerous drugs committee of the House of Representatives.

“I am not a lawyer, but they say that law is based on justice and equity.  I believe this is universal and so even in International Law, this applies,” he argued, making his case before the House justice committee headed by Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso.

But Rizal Rep. Fidel Nograles said it would be best if the government tries to focus first its attention on how to intensify its fight against the coronavirus disease pandemic, particularly among inmates who have been exposed to the virus.

“We can talk about reinstating the death penalty after we’ve had a desirable degree of control over the ongoing health crisis. Let’s not feed the flames of indignation of our people who think that our focus lies elsewhere than helping them survive,” he said.

Nograles, vice chairman of the justice panel, however, clarified that he “supports” the death penalty.

Even key House leaders, including evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva and pastor Bienvenido Abante Jr., have expressed their support for the re-imposition of capital punishment for heinous crimes in the country.

“The death penalty is a right given to the State to correct a heinous wrong that has been committed not only against the victim, but against the State and society,” House Minority Leader Abante declared.

“A person who commits a heinous crime exhibits a depravity that forfeits his very existence in this society,” said Abante who authored House Bill 1588 that supports the revival of the death penalty.

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