MANILA — Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Wednesday expressed his support to punish policemen involved in heinous crimes with death penalty if it is revived.
In an interview on ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo, Año said he was disappointed to hear crimes committed by uniformed personnel, such as that of the Tarlac murders that shocked the nation days before Christmas.
The "highest punishment" should be meted out for such crimes, he added.
“Hindi ako talaga natutuwa na itong mga pulis natin na nagpapatupad ng batas ay siya pa ang gagawa ng mga gan'yang karumaldumal na krimen. Sabi ko nga, kung ibabalik ang death penalty, dapat isama yang men in uniform na gumagawa ng heinous crimes,” the DILG chief said.
(I am not happy that our policemen, who are supposed to implement the law, are the ones involved in brutal crimes. I said before that if the death penalty be revived, we should include men in uniform who commit heinous crimes.)
Members of the police force involved in heinous crimes betray their sworn duty to protect Filipinos, he pointed out.
“Betrayal of sworn duty yan, betrayal of your badge yan. Parang kabaligtaran yung ginawa mo na dapat ikaw ang nagpapatupad ng kaayusan, ng batas,” he said.
(That is a betrayal of sworn duty, betrayal of badge. What you did is contrary to your duty of implementing law and order.)
Año said he hopes the death penalty bill would be passed swiftly to deter heinous crimes.
“Susuportahan natin 'yan at sana mas mabilis na maipasa yan. Tayo lang naman halos ang bansa dito sa Asia na walang death penalty lalo na sa larangan ng illegal drugs. Kailangan natin 'yan para mas lalong sumunod ang mga tao sa batas,” he said.
(We will support it so it could be passed swiftly. It is only our country that has no death penalty in Asia, most especially in punishing people involved with illegal drugs. We need that to make sure people would follow the law.)
“Para sa hanay ng ating men in uniform, mabigyan ng importansya kung anong role talaga nila sa ating pagseserbisyo para sa bayan,” he added.
(For our men in uniform, this would ensure that they would know their role in providing service to our nation.)
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, but its imposition was abolished by a law in 2006 under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a devout Catholic.
According to a survey data from the Free Legal Assistance Group in May 2004, as quoted by the position paper of the Liberal Party in 2017, “an overwhelming number of death penalty inmates belong to the poorest of the poor.”
The political party also said that reimposing the death penalty in the Philippines would have damaging consequences, since the country’s justice system remains faulty.
Meanwhile, Año said the DILG already implemented thorough screening and review of each policeman's profile who had previous cases so they could be included in programs to reform them.
Police Staff Sgt. Jonel Nuezca, a policeman assigned at the Paranaque City police crime laboratory, shot dead last Sunday his unarmed neighbors in Paniqui, Tarlac, where he resides with his family, after a quarrel allegedly over the victims' use of an improvised cannon.