Press Release
August 7, 2020

Dispatch from Crame No. 874:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Message for MATA's (Movement Against the Anti-Terrorism Act) Webinar on the Re-imposition of Death Penalty


When Duterte made a renewed call to re-impose the death penalty during his 5th SONA with no response from the audience, he had to pander for some cheap applause. Not only was the emperor revealed to have no clothes, but his shameless dictatorial streak was also laid bare before the nation.

Instead of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and ravaged millions of jobs, still foremost on his mind is capital punishment, as if tens of thousands of his own people were not killed in his bloody war on drugs by no less than state agents he, himself, has emboldened. It will never be enough for a blood-thirsty dictator.

Today's webinar by the Movement Against the Anti-Terrorism Act (MATA) on the issue of death penalty should serve to enrage the public into saying enough is enough. I thank and commend MATA for providing this platform to discuss how death penalty has no place in policy-making, and should be fiercely opposed if we are to ever realize a just and humane world.

Death penalty is being abolished over the world because it has never been proven to deter crime any more than long-term imprisonment. As such, I have filed a bill introducing the alternative penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua for heinous crimes. I also proposed a measure to streamline and strengthen the process of criminal investigation that will expedite and improve the administration of criminal justice in the country.

Not only is death penalty severe, it is also irreversible for the falsely accused which are aplenty in our deeply flawed justice system. I am one of them. The drug cases against me are all trumped-up, based on perjured or coerced testimonies from Bilibid inmates and other dubious characters. I am a clear victim of false prosecution and malevolent persecution.

I thus say with much conviction that my situation ought to serve as the best argument against capital punishment. Imagine this scenario--there is now a death penalty and I get convicted! I cannot stress enough that wrongful convictions and executions are a real possibility under a tyrannical, oppressive and evil regime.

As a human rights defender and social justice champion, I have been adamant in saying: No to death penalty! Not now, not ever! ###

Access the handwritten copy of Dispatch from Crame No. 874, here:

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