Death penalty may be 'fastest' way to serve justice for heinous crime victims: Pacquiao

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 22 2020 10:27 PM | Updated as of Dec 23 2020 12:26 AM

Sen. Manny Pacquiao delivers a manifestation in plenary on March 23, 2020. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB/file

MANILA - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday renewed his push to reinstate death penalty in the Philippines, saying it may be the "fastest" and "most effective" way of delivering justice for heinous crime victims in the country.

Murderers like Police Staff Sgt. Jonel Nuezca, who brutally shot to death his 2 neighbors in Tarlac last Sunday after a heated argument, thinks they can easily get away with crime because punishments in the current law are weak, Pacquiao said in a statement.

"Alam kasi ng mga kriminal at mga utak kriminal na makukulong lamang sila kapag gumawa sila ng karumal-dumal na krimen," he said.

(Criminals know that they will only be jailed if they commit a heinous crime.)

"Bigyan sana ulit natin ng pagkakataon itong death penalty dahil sa tingin ko, ito na lang ang kulang upang magiging mabilis at magiging epektibo ang ating pagbibigay ng hustisya sa ating kababayang biktima ng mga heinous crimes," the religious lawmaker said.

(I hope we give death penalty another chance because I think this will be the fastest and most effective way to serve justice for our countrymen who are victims of heinous crimes.)

Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa has also revived his push for the reimposition of the capital punishment in the Philippines, saying Nuezca's brutal slay of Sonia and Frank Anthony Gregorio could have been deterred by death penalty.

Progressive groups in the House of Representatives however opposed the revival of capital punishment, saying "only the poor and powerless would fall victim to the death penalty."

Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro said as long as President Rodrigo Duterte enables killings in the country, nothing will be solved by the death penalty.

"Restoring death penalty will not solve crime in the country and will definitely not help solve the current health crisis that our government should be prioritizing at this time. Hangga't mismong ang Pangulo ay kinukunsinte at nanghihikayat pang pumatay, hindi malulutas ng panunumbalik ng death penalty ang lumalalang culture of impunity sa bansa," she said in a statement.

"Tinotokhang ang maralita samantalang kinakamayan, kinakalinga, at posibleng hinahayaang makapuslit sa kulungan kung makulong at ma-convict man ang mayayamang drug lords at abusadong pulis. With such a track record, the death penalty will only rampage against the poor, leaving big fish drug lords free to do their business," she said.

Castro noted the Philippines is under obligation that no person should be executed for his or her crimes as the country is "party to the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant of Political and Civil Rights", which states that "each State party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty."

"To restore death penalty will heap more injustice upon injustice against the poor and marginalized," she said.

"We vow to continue to oppose the reimposition of death penalty."

The President many times ordered authorities to kill criminals and drug personalities. Even during his presidential campaign, Duterte said he will fill funeral parlors with criminals.

The revival of the death penalty was among Duterte's campaign promises in 2016, when he began pushing for the eradication of drug syndicates in the country.

Death penalty was initially allowed in the Philippines through Republic Act 7659 signed in 1993 by then President Fidel Ramos.

His successor, former President Joseph "Erap" Estrada signed Republic Act 8177, specifically designating lethal injection as the mode of carrying out the capital punishment.

The imposition of the death penalty was abolished by a law in 2006 under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a devout Catholic.

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