Press Release
April 26, 2017


I view the latest SWS survey on the death penalty more as a cry of desperation from a public who is tired of drug-related crimes rather than their tacit approval of a supposed crime deterrent that doesn't work. This stems from the failure of the country's law enforcement and public health systems to address the drug problem and bring to justice big-time drug traffickers based on the rule of law.

This inspires me more to campaign against the reimposition of the death penalty and to push for policies that will radically reform our judicial system. I believe that by realizing a fair, efficient and functional justice system, we will ensure the safety of our people and lead them away from the allure of the death penalty, which has been proven to be a dangerous shortcut in addressing the peace and order problem of any country.

There are no empirical proof that shows that death penalty is an effective deterrent against crime, particularly high-level drug trafficking. It is a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, which has a disproportionate impact on the poor and little guarantee that innocent people would not be sentenced to death. It will also violate the country's international obligations, particularly the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming to abolish death penalty.

I reiterate, the solution to the drug problem is a public health approach complemented by a new "rules-based and modern drug law enforcement strategy" targeting big-time drug syndicates.

The government must bring the campaign to the drug lords and not to the poor. Side by side with a public health approach, our drug law enforcement strategy must shift focus to organized drug syndicates. We must focus on crimes associated with big drug operations, such as money laundering and extortion. We must also strengthen border control in international airports and seaports, and heighten operations against cross-country narco trafficking.

I am confident that the majority of my colleagues in the Senate will continue to exercise leadership against the reimposition of the death penalty rather than simply play to the crowd. I trust that we will reaffirm the legislature's decision in 2006 when it voted to abolish capital punishment.

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