The State of the Death Penalty?

boholano-thumbAs we now know  President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has announced his intent to bring back the death penalty, 29 years after its abolition was formally adopted. To him “death penalty is retribution, not a deterrent.” Facebook.com/rodyduterte

He said those who insist that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime do not understand his position on the issue.

“The death penalty might be a deterrence to commit a crime but that is one school of thought,” Duterte said. “Death penalty to me is the retribution. It makes you pay for what you did.”

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Even without capital punishment, it is reported that Philippine police have killed more than 60 drug suspects all over the country in the six weeks since Duterte was elected on May 9.

The death penalty was abolished in 1987 during the time of President Corazon Aquino but was revived in 1993 under President Fidel Ramos. Around a handful of convicts were executed during the shortened term of then president Joseph Estrada who was removed by a “people power” revolt.

Crimes punishable by death included  murder, rape, kidnapping and drug trafficking.

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a devout Catholic, signed a law abolishing capital punishment in 2006.

Incoming President Duterte reiterated that he would not hesitate to kill those who seek to destroy the youth, which he said is the future of the country. “Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy my children because I will kill you,” he said.

He also said he would ignore Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon, who has been critical of his plans.

Duterte also made an unusual threat against incoming Senator Leila de Lima, who vowed to scrutinize the law enforcement operations of the next administration. “If De Lima does not shut her mouth, I will kill her – with love. If she agrees, I don’t know,” he remarked. – Associated Press;  Alexis Romero.

Globally, Pope Francis has stressed:  ‘Thou shall not kill’ is absolute. He is amplifying his opposition to capital punishment, saying it’s an offense to life, contradicts God’s plan and serves no purpose for punishment. xxx  “Thou shalt not kill” has absolute value and applies both to the innocent and to the guilty. xxx

The Pope has gone beyond his predecessors and traditional Catholic teaching in saying there is simply no justification for the death penalty today. “Rather than rendering justice, it fosters vengeance. xxx  “It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal,” he said. He sent the video message to the delegates of the sixth World Congress against capital punishment, currently being held in Oslo, Norway.

The Pope did not mention any particular country in his message. He stressed the practice of capital punishment brings no justice to victims. “Indeed, nowadays, the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person, he said in the message.

Globally what is the reported status of the death penalty? Today 140 nations have abolished it as compared to only 16 countries in 1977. The Republic of the Congo, Fiji, Madagascar, Mongolia and Suriname become the latest countries to formally abolish capital punishment.

The death penalty is prevalent in Asia and the Middle East, with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran responsible for 89 percent of recorded executions in 2015. This does not include China, where official statistics on its use are considered a state secret.

China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US are the five biggest executioners in the world. Other countries have passed counterterrorism laws that expanded the list of crimes punishable by death.

President-elect Duterte  said those who insist that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime do not understand his position on the issue. “The death penalty might be a deterrence to commit a crime but that is one school of thought,” he said. “Death penalty to me is the retribution. It makes you pay for what you did.”

As reported, even without capital punishment, Philippine police have killed more than 60 drug suspects all over the country in the six weeks since Duterte was elected on May 9.

The death penalty was abolished in 1987 during the time of President Corazon Aquino but was revived in 1993 under President Fidel Ramos. Around a handful of convicts were executed during the shortened term of then President Joseph Estrada.

Crimes punishable by death include murder, rape, kidnapping and drug trafficking.

Former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a devout Catholic, signed a law abolishing capital punishment in 2006.

Incoming President Duterte reiterated that he would not hesitate to kill those who seek to destroy the youth, which he said is the future of the country. He further said:  “Do not destroy my country because I will kill you. Do not destroy my children because I will kill you.”

Duterte  said he would just ignore Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon, who has been critical of his plans.  He also made an unusual threat against Senator Leila de Lima, who vowed to scrutinize the law enforcement operations of the next administration. “If De Lima does not shut her mouth, I will kill her – with love. If she agrees, I don’t know,” he remarked. – Associated Press, Alexis Romero.

Movement for a Nonkilling Philippines. In our involvement in the great global debate and controversy on life and death and the death penalty I wish to introduce our quite new and most challenging Movement that is a part of the global Movement for a Nonkilling World.

I am one of the Founders/Co-organizers of this Movement that started in 2009:  Jose V. Abueva, Albert E. Alejo, S.J., Dennis M. Arroyo, Loreta N. Castro, Randolf S. David, Ma. Oliva Z .Domingo, Howard Q. Dee, Miriam  C. Ferrer, Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Jose C.J. Magadia, S.J., Natalia M. Morales, Macapado A. Muslim, Reynaldo D. Pacheco, Teresita Quintos Deles,Jovito R. Salonga, Karen Tañada, Benjamin T. Tolosa.

Movement for a Nonkilling Philipppines: Our Vision and Mission

Our Vision: Building a nonkilling or killing-free Philipines marked by the absence of killing, threats to kill, and conditions conducive to killing.

 

A “just and humane society,” and “a democratic and republican State,” according to our Constitution, where the people’s various human rights are guaranteed and protected.

For, in fact, most Flipinos, like other peoples, never kill in their whole life time. Like a disease, human violence is preventable and it can be minimized, and checked under certain conditions, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),

Our Mission: So let us all help to build a nonkilling Philippines in a life-sustaining just and humane society and a democratic and republican State.

Let us observe the right of every Filipino to live and the responsibility never to kill.

Let us create and maintain the conditions that will reduce violence and killing to the utmost.

And let us help remove the conditions that lead to violence and killing.

My email is pepevabueva@gmail.com

By Jose “Pepe” Abueva



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