House members push death penalty anew

Several measures attempting to reinstate the death penalty have been filed anew at the House of Representatives.

Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap, ACT-CIS Representatives Edvic Yap and Jeffrey Soriano, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez were among those pushing for the return of capital punishment.

House Bill 501, introduced jointly by Duterte, Eric and Edvic Yap, and Soriano, called for the reinstatement of the death sentence “to combat heinous crimes” such as murder and dealing in dangerous drugs.

Capital punishment was also proposed for treason, qualified piracy, qualified bribery, violent robbery, destructive arson and plunder.

“Now is the time to restore the death penalty in the country because we must not be too complacent with these criminals at the expense of the safety of the whole nation,” the authors said.

Among the methods suggested in carrying out capital punishment included hanging, firing squad and lethal injection.

During its imposition in the Philippines decades ago, the death penalty was carried out through the use of the electric chair. When it was stopped through the efforts of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, capital punishment was done through lethal injection.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, meanwhile, reiterated its strong opposition to capital punishment.

“Let us please work together for a more peaceful, more just, and more civilized Philippine society,” Kalookan Bishop and CBCP president Pablo Virgilio David told the Daily Tribune.

One of the most well-known activist leaders, Renato Reyes, mirrored David’s sentiment. He stressed that the death penalty is not a crime deterrent, and no conclusive study shows that it is.

“With a justice system that is skewed against the poor, a justice system that has seen a lot of trumped up charges, we cannot support the death penalty,” Reyes told this paper.

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