Duterte urged to rethink death penalty stand


Former CHR chair Etta Rosales and Rodrigo Duterte. File/Composite

MANILA- A former chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) appealed to presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte to re-think his position on death penalty.

Etta Rosales cited on Monday studies commissioned by the Supreme Court showing that death penalty was not an effective deterrent against crime in the Philippines.

READ: Duterte vows hangings in war on crime

"There have been studies made in the Philippines, commissioned by the Supreme Court no less, to show that it has not been effective as a mechanism, as an approach," she said on ANC's Dateline Philippines.

"As a matter of fact, these studies have shown that most of those who have been accused of crimes are people who are coming from the poor and could not afford lawyers who could defend them effectively," she added.

Duterte said in a press conference past midnight of Monday that he will ask Congress to reimpose the death penalty by hanging as punishment for heinous crimes—particularly drugs offenses, rape, murder, and robbery—and will give out "shoot-to-kill" orders for those involved in organised criminals or who resisted arrest.

Rosales said she appreciates the efforts of Duterte to try to stop crime and that she is one with him in wanting an end to criminality and corruption.

But she maintained that aside from the ineffectiveness of death penalty as a deterrent for crimes, it also violates the people's human rights.

She instead suggested that Duterte and his team focus on improving the current criminal justice system.

"What deters crime is the certainty of arrest, the certainty of prosecution and conviction when there is enough evidence that these perpetrators really committed the crime," she said.

Rosales also commended Duterte's monitoring system in Davao, and asked that it be implemented nationally.

"We have to develop the monitoring system. And that monitoring system must include the civil society groups, the local agencies of government, the security sector," she said.

Rosales who previously warned the nation against a Duterte presidency, said she is willing to talk to the presumptive president so long as he is also willing to listen.

—with report from Agence France-Presse