Cebu teen rape-slay 'not good reason' to revive death penalty: Otso Diretso bets

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2019 02:00 PM

Otso Diretso senatorial bets hold a press conference in Quezon City on March 13, 2019. Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The brutal rape and killing of a 16-year-old girl in Cebu is "not a good reason" to justify the restoration of death penalty, members of the Otso Diretso senatorial slate said Wednesday.

The opposition ticket gave the statement a day after the hashtag #YesToDeathPenalty trended on Twitter as netizens decried the gruesome death of Christine Lee Silawan who was raped and skinned to the skull.

"This is a terrible crime for a student to suffer like this. [But] this is not a good reason to restore the death penalty," human rights lawyer Chel Diokno told reporters.

"Kinamumuhi ko at kinaiiyak ko ang pagbabalat sa babaeng 'yun. Hindi po sana nangyari ito, but that should not bring out the animal in us," Moro civic leader Samira Gutoc said.

(I am angry and moved to tears at what happened to that girl. This shouldn't have happened, but that should not bring out the animal in us.) 

Knee-jerk reactions triggered by reports about heinous crimes should not be the basis of the reimposition of capital punishment, said former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said.

"Ang nakakatakot minsan ay nagagamit 'yung emotional response ng mga mamamayan para gumawa ng isang emotional policy response," he said.

(What's scary is sometimes we use our emotional response to make an emotional policy response.)

"Ang death penalty ay short, emotional response sa nakikita. Sana 'yung response natin is more rational like a reform of our justice system," he said.

(Death penalty is a short, emotional response. Our response should be more rational like a reform of our justice system.)

Bringing back the death penalty at this time would only result in "many wrongful convictions," said Diokno, whose main platform is judicial reform.

"Mismong Korte Suprema ang nagsabi na 70 percent ng nabigyan ng death sentence ay mali pala. Kung ibabalik natin ang death penalty, marami diyan wrongful conviction," he said.

(The Supreme Court already said that 70 percent of those sentenced to death were wrongfully convicted. If we will bring back the death penalty, there will be more wrongful convictions.)

"Hindi pagpataw ng death penalty ang magpapatigil sa krimen 
(Imposing the death penalty will not deter crime). The certainty of punishment is what will stop criminals," Diokno said.

The restoration of the death penalty was among President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promises in 2016.

Last month, the House of Representatives withdrew its approval of a bill that imposes capital punishment against those convicted of drug offenses, months after Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo nabbed the speakership from Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Arroyo abolished the death penalty in 2006 under her presidency.