Press Release
January 27, 2017

Hontiveros: Death penalty under a weak justice system will give Filipinos another spectre to fear

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros publicly opposed moves to reinstate capital punishment in the Philippines.

Speaking before 100 leaders of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) on Friday, Hontiveros said that death penalty combined with extrajudicial killings will create a new wave of fear among Filipinos.

"Extrajudicial killings together with constitutional killing brought about by death penalty will only add to the growing climate of fear and impunity in the country. It will further undermine the people's human rights, particularly the right to life," Hontiveros said.

The neophyte senator explained that the government's plan to reimpose the death penalty contradicts its supposed rehabilitation and reformation programs for convicted drug users and criminals.

"The broad scope of crimes punishable by death, including the mere possession of illegal drugs, is extremely bothering. What is therefore the point of building a mega-drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija if the government wants all the drug dependents killed anyway?

Hontiveros also said that she can't imagine how the death penalty will work under the country's weak justice system which is prone to abuse and corruption.

"According to government data, from 1993 to 2004, 71 % of death penalty convictions have either been modified or revoked. This comes from an automatic review of the Supreme Court. Now imagine if the review procedure was not there? How many innocent loves would have been lost," Hontiveros remarked.

Hontiveros said that one of the best ways to protect the people from crime is to radically reform the country's justice system. "Ang kailagan natin ay mga batas at isang sistema na nagtatanggol at nagpapabuti sa buhay ng tao, hindi pumapatay," Hontiveros said.

"Proper and modern law enforcement, including standing behind the protection of human rights and observance of the rule of law, are the best methods to protect the people from crime and illegal drugs. A fast, fair and working justice system is the more effective deterrent against crime," Hontiveros concluded.

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