PNoy, Robredo reject death penalty revival

by Jojo Malig,

Posted at Mar 30 2012 08:06 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2012 07:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo on Friday said they are not in favor of reimposing the death penalty.

Robredo told dzMM that no study has shown that capital punishment has reduced crimes.

"Hindi po fool-proof na [dahil sa] death penalty, bababa iyung crime incidence at magkakaroon ng katahimikan sa lugar," he said.

"Ako po ay hindi naniniwala na iyung death penalty ay mapipigilan po iyung krimen. Palagay ko po, iyung husay ho ng sistema, iyung pagpataw ho ng sistemang agaran, iyung mahuli po ang mga kriminal at magkaroon po ng masusing programa sa crime prevention -- ito ho ang magbibigay ng katahimikan," Robredo added.

He issued the statement after Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General  Nicanor Bartolome on Friday urged Congress to study the reimposition of the death penalty.

Robredo said the revival of death penalty will be decided by Congress and the President.

"Habang hindi pa iyan napapagpasyahan, ang pinakamainam po talaga ay ayusin ang paghuli ng salarin. Pigilan po ang krimen na mangyayari," he said.

He believes that police get frustrated when criminals get away with their misdeeds. "May kaunti khong frustration siguro sa panig ng kapulisan na minsan may nahuhuli, may nabibilanggo subalit dahil ang ating sistema ay restorative hindi ho nagpe-penalize lang, minsan ho nakakalabas pa," he said,

He said that the real problem are minors who commit crimes. "Iyung tinatawag na childen in conflict with the law, kasi ito iyung nagagamit talaga sa paggawa ng krimen. Hindi ho talaga napaparusahan. Marunong po iyung kriminal, ginagamit po iyung batas laban sa pamahalaan."

PNP chief welcomes death penalty debate

Bartolome, in an interview with ANC, said lawmakers should study the reimposition of the death penalty.

Bartolome said Congress should discuss the issue in response to the "agressiveness" of criminals.

"What I said is perhaps because of the boldness, because of the aggressiveness of criminal elements nowadays, I think there is a need to restudy. Of course, that's for Congress to deliberate upon this issue, because there is a law that does not call for death penalty," he explained.

Bartolome earlier said he is ready to hold talks with the Church and human rights groups who oppose capital punishment.

PNoy opposed to death penalty

In Malacañang, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino continues to oppose the death penalty.

Lacierda also said the PNP leadership continues to enjoy the trust and confidence of the chief executive despite a recent string of high-profile crimes.

Bartolome, in response, said he will abide by the President's decision regarding his proposal to study the reimposition of capital punishment.

"I am part of the executive branch. Whatever Malacañang or the chief executive says, we will still follow," he said. "Perhaps there can be some discussions (Congress) but of course there are pros and cons. Whatever is the decision of Congress, we will abide."

"If it reaches the Office of the President, he has already intimated his stand that he is not for death penalty, we will also follow. We will toe the line."

No crime spree

Bartolome denied that a crime spree is ongoing in Metro Manila.

He cited PNP data showing that the crime rate was down by 20% at the end of 2011.

"It's really down. It has really been reduced. However, some high-profile crimes have been happening lately. Maybe there is a percepcion that there is an upsurge in the crime incidence. Statistics would say otherwise," he said.

96 riding-in-tandem suspects 'neutralized'

Bartolome said police are also focused on going after riding-in-tandem criminals who use motorcycles.

"Riding in tandem' (cases) lately have been increasing in the sense that there are certain categories that they are involved, For eample,  snatching, hold-up, robbery, carjacking," he said. 

He said police have arrested 354 riding-in-tandem suspects as of end-2011.

He added that 96 supects were also killed "in legitimate police operations."

"For every riding-in-tandem neutralized, we can effectively solve 6-8 cases," he said. "There's no cause for alarm. We are neutralizing these groups."