DOJ reiterates objection to death penalty

by Evelyn Macairan, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 06 2014 11:39 AM | Updated as of Jul 06 2014 07:39 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday reiterated its opposition to the re-imposition of the death penalty, saying it would not lower crime statistics.

“Justice that kills is not justice. The imposition of capital punishment has no positive impact on crime prevention or security and does not in any way repair the harm done to the victims and their families. The department believes that it cannot and should not exist where the conditions for determining guilt or innocence is so imperfect,” the DOJ said in a recent statement.

“There is no quick or instant solution to this problem,” it added.

As far as drug trafficking is concerned, the DOJ assured the public they are one with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Dangerous Drugs Board in pushing for bold anti-drug initiatives. It cited the need for a new system of exchange of information, aggressive drug law enforcement activities and socio-economic programs.

The DOJ said it recognizes the importance of bringing a human rights perspective to the national drug control regime.

‘For life against death’

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also stood firm on its position “for life and against death” amid calls for the restoration of the death penalty.

CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said death penalty is cruel and inhumane in view of the “terrible anxiety and psychological distress” of a person awaiting execution.

“It has been rightly said that the anticipation of impending death is more terrible a torture than suffering death itself,” he said.

He said the members of the family of condemned persons, including children, are also stigmatized, “bearing with them the price of a crime they never committed.”

“The Gospel we preach is a Gospel of Life, but the position we take is defensible even on non-religious grounds,” he added.

Villegas said justice does not demand the death penalty, adding that a mature sense of justice steers as far as possible from retribution.

“There is something terribly self-contradictory about the death penalty, for it is inflicted precisely in social retaliation to the violence unlawfully wielded by offenders. But in carrying out the death penalty, the state assumes the very posture of violence that it condemns,” he said.

Villegas also cited the imperfection of the judicial system, citing how some judges allow extra-legal considerations to taint their judgment. –With Eva Visperas