Statement of Commissioner Karen S. Gomez Dumpit on the 17th World Day against Death Penalty
As we mark the 17th World Day Against Death Penalty today, let us remain firm in upholding the right to life and resist any move to reimpose the death penalty.
This year’s theme focuses on the unseen victims of capital punishment — children whose parents have been sentenced to death. The psychological and emotional suffering of these children can amount to a violation of their rights.
The arduous and tormenting process of capital punishment is in itself a form of torture inflicted on the convicted. This suffering extends to their loved ones especially their children whose anguish can even be more severe than the person in death row. This perpetuates the cycle of violence and despair as the children of those executed bear the stigma from the community, experience psychological trauma, and may carry the emotional burden into adulthood which may be passed on to their own children.
We reiterate Government’s commitment and obligation to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines expressly accepted in the free exercise of its sovereignty. The very nature of the treaty does not allow for withdrawal or denunciation. To reintroduce the death penalty once again will be a serious breach of international law.
All crimes must be punished through an efficient and incorrupt justice system. Death penalty can breed more problems and do more harm without resolving what it purports to stop in the first place. Death Penalty is wrong and futile. A state that makes killing a form of punishment loses the moral ground to stop killings. The obligation to deliver justice must not breed further injustice.
Curbing crimes and its root causes require effective solutions. Our country and its government instrumentalities must endeavor to address the deeper problems that cause commission of crimes, implement alternative programs to prevent offending through a restorative justice framework and ensure certainty of punishment through due process, rule of law and utmost respect for the right to life of all.
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