No guarantee death penalty will deter crime: Amnesty International

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2016 08:42 PM

MANILA, Philippines — There's no guarantee that the death penalty will deter crime in the Philippines, a human rights group said.

Ritz Lee Santos III, chairperson of Amnesty International Philippines, said research shows there's no correlation between imposing capital punishment and reducing incidents of crime.

"Having the death penalty doesn't follow that crime incidents will decrease," he said in a phone interview on ANC's "Top Story."

On Wednesday, the justice committee in the House of Representatives voted 12-6-1 approving a committee report on the consolidated bill for the reimposition of death penalty.

Amnesty International Philippines is calling on all lawmakers to heed their conscience and prevent the re-imposition of capital punishment.

"We will not stop. We will continue to lobby and ask the legislators to have their conscience still intact," Santos said.

Earlier today, the human rights watchdog presented an 11-point legislative agenda making the case against the death penalty:

1. Reject all efforts to reinstate the use of the death penalty in the Philippine judicial system.

2. Seriously address the extrajudicial killings in the country, including making sure that human rights workers and defenders are free from intimidation, harassment and violence, and are able to continue their work without interference.

3. Legislate and establish a national preventive mechanism for torture, which should comply with the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture.

4. Fully engage in the oversight committee for the implementation of the anti-torture act.

5. Accede to the international convention for the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances as a step towards ratification and strengthen the anti-enforced disappearance act in line with international law.

6. Amend the witness protection act with a view of establishing a mechanism for timely and sustainable protection for prospective witnesses, witnesses and their families, and victims' families.

7. Review provisions criminalizing libel of the revised penal code and the cyber-crime prevention act, with a view to amend provisions which curtail freedom of expression.

8. Repeal legislations that are discriminatory to women as mandated in the implementing rules and regulations of the magna carta for women:

  • Giving preference to the father's opinion over the mother's with respect to giving consent to the marriage of a son or daughter aged 18-21; the requirement for physical abuse and grossly abusive conduct to be repeated to constitute a ground for legal separation;
  • Provisions giving preference to the husband's decision over his wife's in cases of disagreement in relation to the administration and enjoyment of community and conjugal properties and over their children and the exercise of legal guardianship over the property of children under the age of 18;
  • The definition of vagrants and prostitution; provisions on adultery and concubinage where the wife can be charged with adultery and the husband can be charged with concubinage which is more difficult to prove and has lesser penalties;
  • Premature marriages where a widow who marries within 301 days from the date of her husband's death may be imprisoned and on death inflicted by a legally married person on his spouse and his spouse's sexual partner.

9. Enact a charter of the Commission on Human Rights that strengthens its mandate and capacity to include subpoena powers, clarify its fiscal independence the power to reorganize its internal structure.

10. Enact a law that will criminalize and penalize all acts of discrimination, to include a comprehensive anti discrimination law.

11. Create a law protecting the rights of internally displaced people.

Santos added that regardless of the crime incidents and the peace and order situation in the country, the state has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.

"Reimposing the death penalty is tantamount to violation of human rights, the very basic of our rights," he said.

— with reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN NEWS