Restoration of death penalty gets mixed reactions in Leyte

OFFICIALS in Leyte province have expressed varied opinions on the proposed re-imposition of death penalty in the country.

Leyte second district Representative Henry Ong said the better way to crime prevention is to address the root cause of criminality -- poverty and lack of education, not killing the criminals.

“I don’t think that death penalty is the solution. If we only do our part and give them the economic support and give children proper education and guidance, I don’t think criminality will increase,” Ong said.

He said no one pressured him to oppose death penalty, stressing it was his belief as a Roman Catholic that life is sacred.

“As a Catholic, I was taught and raised to respect and love life. I don’t think it will really solve the problem and if ever this will be passed, poor people who cannot afford to have good lawyers are the ones who would suffer,” Ong said.

Eastern Visayas has 13 representatives in Congress and only two representatives support death penalty -- Leyte third district Representative Vicente Veloso and An Waray party-list Representative Victoria Isabel Noel.

Noel clarified that although she supports death penalty, the imposition should only be on heinous crimes and on drug-related cases.

The party-list lawmaker believes that the imposition of death penalty could help the government deter heinous crimes.

For a member of the Archdiocese of Palo clergy, Fr. Mark Ivo Velasquez, “the return of the death penalty will not make ours a more just and secure society.”

“Proof of this is the nations in which it is still practiced. On the contrary, it will make us into a more violent and bloodthirsty people, who seek revenge over justice. Under the cloak of mere legality, society would administer as a remedy the very disease it tries to eliminate,” Fr. Velasquez said.

He added that death penalty is not justifiable in the eyes of God.

The restoration of capital punishment in the country has been the subject of plenary debates in Congress after the House of Representatives' justice committee approved in December last year a report containing the substitute bill that would allow it back in the criminal justice system.

READ: Death penalty gets House panel's nod

The measure, which is a consolidation of seven House bills of the same intent, has enumerated heinous crimes punishable by death penalty, namely: Treason; Piracy in general and mutiny on the high seas or in Philippine water; Qualified piracy; Qualified bribery; Parricide; Murder; Infanticide; Rape; Kidnapping and serious illegal detention; Robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons; Destructive arson; Plunder; Possession of dangerous drugs; Carnapping, among others.

The mode of capital punishment could either be through hanging, by firing squad or lethal injection. (PNA/SunStar Philippines)

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