MANILA - If the Philippines revives the death penalty, the country will lose its "moral ascendancy" in negotiations involving Filipinos facing capital punishment overseas.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his State of the Nation Address on Monday, renewed his push for the reimposition of death penalty in the country for crimes related to illegal drugs.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement that the restoring the death penalty will affect attempts to save nearly 100 Filipinos worldwide who are on death row.
Over the years, Manila has had multiple attempts to save Filipinos from executions due to the gravity of the crimes they allegedly committed.
Lagman added that the Constitution abolished the death penalty, although Congress is allowed to reimpose it on heinous crimes for compelling reasons.
"These two (2) conditions on 'heinous crimes' and 'compelling reasons' are separate but concurrent. The heinousness of a crime is not determinative of the compelling reason. They are not synonymous," he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that the Philippines is part of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Second Protocol on the ICCPR, making the country committed to abolish capital punishment, without a chance of reviving it.
"Even the 1988 UN Drug Convention, to which the Philippines is also a State Party, does not prescribe the death penalty for drug-related offenses," Lagman said.
He added that there will be serious economic repercussions if the country reimposes capital punishment, "as we would lose free tariff privileges on our exports to European Union countries which require adherence to human rights."
The EU has urged the Philippines to launch an immediate investigation into the killings and adopt "specific, comprehensive policies and programs," in full compliance with national and international obligations and respect for human rights.