“Communicating hope and trust in our time.”

- Pope Francis

Trying hard to make sense out of death penalty

FOUR have already filed bills seeking the reimposition of death penalty in the country.  Senators Christopher Go, Ronald dela Rosa and Manny Pacquiao, all allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, target the drug war as the compelling reason.  The fourth, Senator Panfilo Lacson, pushes a lethal injection for all heinous crimes.

            De la Rosa, who is reportedly going to head of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, is totally convinced that death penalty is deterrent to crime.  He insists that death penalty will scare drug traffickers.  In a press conference, the said “When I was a director at the BuCor (Bureau of Corrections), I asked those inside the New Bilibid Prison and they admitted that they like the Philippines as a dumping ground for Shabu because, we don’t have death penalty here in the Philippines.”  Arguing with those who contend that death penalty is anti-poor, he insisted that his version of the bill is directed only to the wealthy drug traffickers.  “There are no drug traffickers who are poor. These are big-time traffickers,” he said.

            The scare argument is a long shot.  Volumes of studies have arrived at a conclusion that fear of the death punishment does not make sense.  Because if it does, how come 30 thousand or more have already died in the government’s 3-year drug war yet drug traffickers and users are not deterred a bit?  If Dela Rosa’s version of the bill only targets the wealthy drug traffickers, how come nobody was caught in the 6.2 billion pesos worth of drugs that passed through watch of the Bureau of Customs.   It was repeated when the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) discovered a 6.8-billion pesos worth of methampetamine or shabu that were stashed in 4 magnetic lifters.   No one wealthy trafficker was arrested.

            It is not about death penalty.  It’s about the corruptible law enforcement that goes all the way to the justice system.  Even Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Duterte’s Foreign Affairs Secretary, sees the senselessness in death penalty.  He twitted:  “I’m against death penalty.  Doesn’t work; just creates an illusion of severity criminals see through easily.  It scares nobody.  It just degrades society by making everyone complicit in a capital error of miscarried justice.  EJK is a crime of the cop; judicial killing is our crime.”

            So says Senator de Lima, “To impose death penalty at a time when the Philippine justice system is still plagued by perceived corruption and inefficiency will open our country to irreversible errors and the possibility of executing innocent citizens.”

            When issues involve lives, senselessness is painful and irreversible.

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