University leaders call on Senate to reject death penalty bill


Posted at May 14 2017 05:26 AM

University leaders on Friday released a statement urging senators not to vote for House Bill 4727 or the death penalty bill.

In a statement, they said there is “no reason for us to bring back this inhumane form of punishment.”

“The kind of justice promoted by the death penalty, an eye-for-an-eye vindictiveness, is not the kind of justice we should seek and promote in our country,” the statement read.

The leaders gave six arguments as to why the death penalty should not be revived, such as it is “anti-poor, violates international commitments, has not been proven conclusively to deter crime, will not solve the drug problem, will not dispense justice, and the ultimate violation of the human right to live.”

They also thanked the senators who are against the bill, appealed to those in favor to “reconsider their stand,” and called upon the undecided not to vote for the bill.

“[We] believe and are reminded by our education that in crafting policies for our country, we ought to be guided by ethical principles and grounded by evidence,” they said.

The signatories of the statement are leaders of Assumption College, Ateneo de Manila University, Ateneo de Cagayan, De La Salle University, De La Salle Philippines, San Beda College, St. Scholastica’s College, University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila, University of Santo Tomas, and Xavier School.

The senate committee on justice is expected to tackle the bill this month.

Last week, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella emphasized the importance of the bill after a Pulse Asia survey showed a decrease in the number of Filipinos in favor of reviving the death penalty.

Last month, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the bill is “already dead in the Senate,” while senators in favor of the bill challenged his statement.

In March, the bill was passed on the third and final reading in the chamber, with 217 lawmakers voting in favor, 54 against, and one abstention.

Under the measure, only drug-related offenses would be punishable by death.

In February, lawmakers removed rape, plunder and treason from the coverage of the bill.