Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Alvarez said that in the first two years of the Duterte administration, he planned to reinstate capital punishment for heinous crimes. During the campaign, Duterte had promised to reinstate the death penalty.
As mayor for over two decades in Davao City, Duterte is known for his iron-fist stance on crime, and is known to have links to “death squads” notorious for killing criminals in the city.
Addressing arguments that the death penalty was not known to be a deterrent to crime, Alvarez argued that: “There’s been no death penalty for many years but crime is still increasing.”
The death penalty was abolished under the 1987 Constitution with the caveat that it may be reimposed, with Congress approval, for heinous crimes. It was reimposed during the administration of Fidel V. Ramos and Joseph Estrada, and stopped during the term of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The hatchet man appointed by newly elected President Duterte of the Philippines, has outlined a chilling programme for the coming years. There is nothing of democracy, the economy, or civil society, rather the establishment of autocratic rule, death, and extension of criminality to the young. Most extraordinary of all is the open proclamation of extension of the term of a man who has not even yet been elevated to power.
Of course those who helped achieve abolition of the death penalty in the Philippines are disappointed in the outcome. "The same prisoners as before rot in jails, the same violence prevails across the country, families of victims and the imprisoned are still without assistance". But abolition in itself is not the end of crime, it is rather the beginning of a new era of justice. The respect for human life which replaces the death penalty must be the basis of a new culture of life; if no effort is made then, indeed nothing improves. The failure to build on abolition cannot be blamed on abolition itself.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
But, we are chronically unable to ensure that we can even clearly identify the guilty parties. Consider the recent high-profile murder/rape of the two British tourists on Koh Tao. There, the court;s guilty verdict relied heavily on DNA analysis by a police lab that hadn't been certified to carry out such analysis, thus making its report inadmissible in court -- and making the case a fiasco.Also, the defendants hadn't been previously informed of the counterpart of their Miranda Rights, so their “confessions” upon which the court relied were inadmissible, per Thai Criminal Code S134/4. Would PM Prayut kill those whose guilt hadn't been proven beyond reasonable doubt? Remember, capital punishment, once carried out, is irreversible.
Also, the worse a crime is, the harsher their punishment should be (to have proportionality). If we execute rapists, what will we do with murderers?
We should think, and think again, before applying capital punishment.
Sunday, June 05, 2016
Philippine Daily Enquirer, June 5
Thursday, June 02, 2016
Quezon City, Philippines, 20 May 2016.
6 1987 PHIL. CONST., art. III, sec. 1.
7 Cabanlig v. Ynares-Santiago, GR No. 148431, 28 July 2005.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
It is reported that an execution squad is ready again on Indonesia's island of death where the killing field is being enlarged. A year ago fifteen drug traffickers were executed by firing squad in macabre killings that shocked the world. "Indonesia may proceed to the next round of executions with a list of 14 death row convicts, reportedly after Idul Fibri in early July" (ASEAN setback: Forward march on the death penalty. The Jakarta Post, May 31)
President Widodo rejects the wisdom of centuries which has concluded that capital punishment is itself a moral evil which cannot deter the evil of crime. He has not only rejected the majority viewpoint of the world, and its expression in the repeated vote of the UN General Assembly for a worldwide moratorium but rejects criticism and dissent on the strength of his own conviction.
He has unfinished business from the first round of killings, including Mary Jane Veloso, the young Filipina mother whose sentence was far from being beyond reasonable doubt of guilt. How this young woman has aged over the year of uncertainty for her life.
Meanwhile he protests the execution of Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia; is he questioning the legitimacy of Sharia law?