Press Release
June 2, 2006

Plenary debates are ongoing

Its all systems go for the passage of the bill in the Senate that would abolish death penalty once and for all. Senate Bill 2254 under Committee Report 72 consolidates Senate Bills 694 of Villar, 226 of Sen. Sergio Osmea III and 1143 of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

We also recognize the urgency of enacting into law the bills proposing for the abolition of death penalty. Thus even if we are swamped with priority bills that we have to pass before adjournment next week and of course the budget, we manage to fast-track this important measure as well, says Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs.

Senator Joker Arroyo, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice, on Thursday sponsored for plenary discussions Senate Bill 2254 and he expressed optimism that the bill would be approved before Congress adjourns next week.

Villars Senate Bill 694 seeks to provide for the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua instead of the death penalty in cases where the law prescribes the death penalty and for other purposes. Death, as a penalty for crime, has no place in a society that claims to strongly uphold freedom and human rights, cites Villar on his bill.

On Easter Sunday, President Arroyo commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of over a thousand convicts. Malacañang has also certified as urgent all bills calling for the abolition of death penalty.

The death penalty, besides being inhuman and cruel, has never proven to deter crimes more effectively than other punishments. For countries with perverted justice system, the said penalty might even be imposed on the innocent, further cites Villar.

Based on the presentation of Mamamayang Tutol sa Bitay-Movement for Restorative Justice (MTB-MRJ) and PHILRIGHTS, the abolition of death penalty is already a worldwide trend, with 88 countries and territories which have already abolished death penalty for all crimes.

There are 37 countries that have retained death penalty in law but have not carried out executions for a decade or more. Also, there are 10 countries which have abolished death penalty for all except exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes.

According to Villar, If the abolition of the death penalty will be passed into law, thereby repealing Republic Act (RA) 7659, the Philippines is set to become the first country in Asia to abolish death penalty.

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