Duterte govt, allies push for death penalty without clear data on deterrent effect
Lian Buan, Rappler, Aug 6, 2020 11:17 AM PHT
Those opposed to the reimposition of the death penalty cite Supreme Court data that the high tribunal reversed 71.77% of death convictions, indicating a high risk of wrongful execution
The House justice committee has revived its hearings on bills seeking to reimpose the death penalty but after 5 hours of tense interpellation on Wednesday, August 6, sponsors of the bills, the justice department, and the chief public attorney could not present clear data on capital punishment's deterrent effect on crimes.
None of the 13 House bills filed in the 18th Congress present such data.
While HB No. 3261 authored by Valenzuela 1st District Representative Wes Gatchalian said that the prevalence rate of drug addicts increased "from 1.3 million or 1.8% of the population in 2012, to 1.7 million or 2.3%," this statistic did not offer clear comparative standards to justify how death penalty would deter drug crimes.
Surigao del Norte Representative Ace Barbers had to turn to Chief Public Attorney Persida Acosta for backing, but she only made a general assessment.
"Kasi ang tingin po namin, kung sila ay may karapatang mabuhay nang matagal, paano naman po 'yung bibiktimahin nila (For us, if they have the right to live longer, then what about their future victims)?" Acosta said.
Acosta's stance is a flip-flop – she was fiercely against the death penalty in 2005, and even argued before the Supreme Court that year to plead to get rid of it. "Death penalty is a legalized murder," Acosta said in a position paper in 2005.
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