The wish of President Rodrigo Duterte to execute five to six convicts daily would plunge the country into the dark ages of “savagery” and make the country a top executioner, a pro-life solon said.
In a statement, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said the President’s wish to have five to six criminals put to death every day, or more than 2,000 every year, under the death penalty would put the country into “an unprecedented era of darkness and medieval savagery.”
Atienza said daily executions would make the predominantly Catholic country the world’s top executioner, worse that non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan.
“If the President had his way, our predominantly Catholic country could go down as the world’s new top executioner, ahead of non-Catholic countries such as China, Iran and Pakistan,” Atienza said.
Last month, Duterte said there would be daily executions of drug convicts once death penalty is restored.
“Restore it and I will execute criminals every day—five or six. That’s for real,” Duterte said.
Atienza said moves in Congress to restore death penalty are an “anathema to our celebration of life.”
“We Filipinos celebrate life. In fact, we celebrate life so much that despite our usual troubles, we’ve been persistently rated among the happiest people in the world,” Atienza said.
Atienza said it is bad enough that even without the death penalty, the country is hounded with a spate of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug criminals at the height of the administration’s bloody war on drugs.
“We do not want to be brutalized by constant bloodshed. We Filipinos loathe killings, whether judicial or extrajudicial, as much as we detest violent crime,” Atienza said.
“It is bad enough we already have a virtual death penalty in place, with the unabated summary executions of alleged suspects sans the benefit of a full and fair trial,” he added.
Atienza said the real problem is rampant corruption in the criminal justice system, as revealed in a House inquiry on the Bilibid drug trade and the millions of alleged kickbacks for Bureau of Correction officials.
“The real problem is clearly corruption. The problem is not with the severity of the punishment for crime. In fact, corruption is the primary reason why many felons are not getting caught, and not getting punished, and this in turn has only abetted even more crime,” Atienza said.
The bill is expected to undergo plenary debates under second reading once Congress resumes from its Christmas break on Jan. 16.
The bill hurdled the justice committee on Dec. 7.
The bill seeks to impose death penalty for more than 20 heinous offenses, such as rape with homicide, kidnapping for ransom, and arson with death.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s staunch ally in Congress, filed the bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty after former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished capital punishment in 2006 for its failure to deter crime.
Alvarez filed the bill pursuant to President Duterte’s campaign promise of returning capital punishment against heinous criminals.
“Philippine society is left with no option but to deal with certain grievous offenders in a manner commensurate to the gravity, perversity, atrociousness and repugnance of their crimes,” according to the bill.
Duterte won the elections on a campaign promise to restore death penalty.
Alvarez said Congress would look into the cheapest way of carrying out the death penalty, either by firing squad, lethal injection or by hanging.