MANILA - International rights watchdog Human Rights Watch on Tuesday denounced the House of Representatives' move to approve on final reading the proposed law to revive the death penalty, calling it another blow to the country’s "deteriorating human rights situation."
The group said that the country's impending passage of the death penalty bill into law "would be a major setback both for human rights in the Philippines and for the global campaign to abolish capital punishment."
Human Rights Watch said the Philippines had been at the forefront of the campaign against capital punishment in Southeast Asia.
"In 2007 it ratified the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty – the first in the region to do so. Since then, it has supported several United Nations resolutions reaffirming a moratorium on capital punishment around the world," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
"Now, the Philippines will have the dubious distinction of becoming the first party to the protocol to restore the death penalty," the group added.
Human Rights Watch maintained that capital punishment is an inherently cruel punishment, which has not been shown to deter crime.
"Coupled with the Duterte administration’s brutal “war on drugs” in which police and unidentified “vigilantes” have killed nearly 8,000 people since last July, the passage of this law would represent a double-whammy against human rights in the Philippines," the group said.
"Adding a veneer of legality to the bloodbath in the Philippines will make stopping it even harder," it added.