The death penalty or capital punishment isn’t new to the criminal justice system, especially in the Philippines. The failure of this punishment as crime deterrent hasn’t become unfamiliar to both ends of the rope, either. Rather, strong dissents of the death penalty successfully argued and unfolded the setbacks experienced by those countries that this penalty still exists.
A Quick Review
In 1993, by virtue of the Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law, Ramos administration resumed the implementation of the death penalty from its hiatus following the fall of martial law in 1986.
Then in 1999 under Estrada administration, Leo Echegaray was the first and the last convict executed through a lethal injection. The death penalty continues until Arroyo administration lifted the stay of the death penalty in 2003 (pcij.org posted 2006). Then, by virtue of Republic Act 9346 signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2006, the death penalty was suspended. (Wikipedia.org last modified on January 5, 2017)
Now under Duterte administration that seems close-knit with the Arroyo allies, the death penalty is becoming pregnant. President Rodrigo Duterte may not be too harsh to insinuate that the reborn of the death penalty in the Philippines is ticking under the pretext of his administration’s “war on drugs”.
The Philippines as a State Party
The Philippines is one of the state parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or ICCPR and signed and ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty on March 21, 2000, and April 25, 2014, respectively. By these international bindings, the Philippines as a state party and signatory has the obligation or duty “to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty.” (Second Optional Protocol: FAQ)
As of January 25, 2017, Sao Tome and Principe upon its ratification on January 10, 2017, becomes the latest state party addition to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.
Meanwhile, the death penalty facts and figures as of 2015 reflected 1,634 people executed in 25 countries prevalent in China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. (Amnesty International, posted April 6, 2016)
Arguments in Favor and Against the Death Penalty
While the most common or most known school of thoughts why the death penalty is justified through ethical issues such as rights forfeiture, retribution, and deterrence and the other one, through public policy issues such as proportionality, executing the innocent, and racial bias (James Fieser, 2008), though seem geographically exclusive, are practically significant to consider, these foundation of battlegrounds for argument on the death penalty can be defeated only by a bold stroke of a political will of a leader despite all arguments and international bindings that exist.
As there are mountain-piled reasons that both sides have, and as there are a vast number of readings published both outrageously and sensitively discussing kilometric reasons and points for and against the death penalty, there could only be one reason why this punishment reasonable to be implemented to its full extent without mercy. That is, through acceptance. Deterrence cannot be downplayed as failure and inutile despite the death penalty. How much more of a downplayed deterrence in the absence of a capital punishment?
While the Philippines nowadays has become seemingly immune of the killings every day that talking about death is too casual as the way it is reported understated, the death penalty should haven’t been this big deal to talk about once and for all. While others speculated that Senator Manny Pacquiao was too superficial as to understand the Biblical story interpretation of the Jesus’ death, we are, of course, too naive to understand the journey of life to death!
The death penalty is a punishment rather than a sanctimonious affair so big deal to divide the House foaming every mouth to their satisfaction to argue with each other. No one is immune from death, an acceptance that we are all subscribing to it. ▲
Sources: pcij.org; Wikipedia.org; hrweb.org; treaties.un.org; amnesty.org; utm.edu