Last year, there was talk of the death penalty being reinstated back in the Philippines. The proposal was approved, but it had not been passed—until today.
The initial proposal indicated 21 different crimes punishable by hanging, firing squad or lethal injection, these crimes included: treason, piracy, destructive arson, bribery, parricide, murder, plunder, infanticide, rape (depending on the situation), possession, sale, trading, administration, importation, delivery, distribution, transportation, manufacturing of dangerous drugs, cultivation of plants classified as dangerous drugs, carnapping, and unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs.
While they may be crimes, some are more heinous than others and most of the Filipinos and the rest of the world reacted negatively to the proposal.
The ineffectiveness of the death penalty has repeatedly been proven and an analysis by Oxford University concluded that the threat of the death penalty does not pose a larger threat to criminals than life imprisonment—making the punishment useless.
Despite the negative feedback on the proposal, the Philippine government headed by President Rodrigo Duterte is still pushing through. In fact, the bill is expected to have been passed tomorrow, March 1st; however, the bill had undergone revisions. The death penalty will now only apply to drug-related crimes.
According to a representative, the voting actually became easier once the crimes were limited to those that were related to drugs. Why? Maybe because some officials actually felt guilty and hypocritical that they would pass a bill that would end their own lives as well? Who knows?
There were also pronouncements that officials would be stripped of their posts if they voted against the bill and this is why the death penalty is probably going to be reinstated in the Philippines after it was abolished in the 1987 constitution, reinstated in 1993 and again removed in 2006.
However, will capital punishment really make a difference in the Philippines when President Rodrigo Duterte has raised the death toll by an unbelievable amount since he took place in office?
In a letter written by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the consortium asked that the government promote the preservation of life instead of bringing back the use of the death penalty, calling on its members to value the life of each and every individual.
“We urge all members of the House of Representatives and Senate to uphold the right to life enshrined in the 1987 Philippines Constitution…”
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion; however, if you are for the death penalty, remember that human lives are not expendable; just because they are not your own, does not mean they don’t hold any meaning.
Last year, Filipino citizens were asked to vote for a leader that would uphold Filipino values and speak for the country as a whole; so, Philippines, is this what you wanted?