Press Release
August 5, 2020

De Lima rejects renewed call to restore death penalty

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has reiterated her uncompromising opposition to the proposed restoration of death penalty in the country which could further unleash nationwide bloodbath mostly victimizing Filipinos from the vulnerable sectors of the society.

De Lima said Duterte's recent call to the Congress to reinstate death penalty for drug-related charges amid the COVID-19 pandemic only proves that he is more interested in having the legal authority to kill instead of carrying out the proper response to the pandemic.

"Everywhere in the world, people are looking for ways to keep humans alive during this pandemic. Everyone is hoping and working to find solutions to save lives. Apparently, everyone everywhere except our own President, who is preoccupied with bringing back the death penalty by lethal injection," she said in her Dispatch from Crame No. 866.

"Death by a virus is not enough for him. It has to be death by his own hands: by hook or by crook; legally or extra-legally. To him, finding a cure is not a priority. Having the legal authority to kill is," she added.

During his 5th SONA last July 27, Duterte has made another push for the reimposition of the death penalty in the country for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Duterte has consistently pushed for the reinstatement of death penalty - which was brought back under then president Fidel Ramos' administration but abolished anew under former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He previously used his 2nd SONA and 4th SONA to press for capital punishment.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said Dutere proved that he is more than willing to continue to take undue advantage of a health and public safety crisis in order to move against the interests of his own people, this time in a bid to satisfy his lust for dead Filipinos.

"What is it about this President that makes him hate Filipinos so much that he has again spoken about bringing back the Death Penalty amidst a coronavirus pandemic? Without even having an answer for the people who are rightfully asking him what are his government's plans to combat COVID-19, he, in his perversion, turns the discussion to killing people instead," she said.

"Namamatay na po ang mga tao nang walang kalaban-laban. Hindi po ba dapat pagbuhay sa mga Pilipino ang prayoridad ng gobyerno? Bakit pagpatay pa rin ang nasa isip ng Presidenteng ito?" she asked.

De Lima maintained that death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crimes because many factors come into play when a person commits a crime, which include poverty, environment, education and values.

"In fact, the real deterrent effect does not come from simply imposing the severest punishment possible. It comes from effective law enforcement: from heightened crime prevention efforts and, if those fail, successful and effective crime detection, investigation and prosecution," she said.

"None of these things Duterte is good at addressing: not at alleviating poverty, not at improving social environment, or people's education and values. So he resorts to the Death Penalty because, like him, that is good for one thing and one thing only: killing, regardless of innocence or guilt," she added.

This 18th Congress, just like in the previous one, De Lima has offered an alternative to death penalty when she filed Senate Bill No. 187, which seeks to impose qualified reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment on extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder.

If enacted into law, De Lima's measure will impose qualified reclusion perpetua without parole on persons found guilty of treason, piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

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