I AM against the re-imposition in the country of the death penalty primarily because of our flawed justice system. Besides, while I sometimes wish those who commit heinous crimes dead, I am not a believer in the principle of “an eye for an eye” or even “lex talionis.”
I am for the rehabilitation of offenders, although at times that may not work, as there have been cases when released prisoners commit crimes again. But I read somewhere the argument that if we are for the idea of “innocent until proven guilty,” then the precept “reformable until proven otherwise” can be true as well.
Even then, I am following the push by President Rodrigo Duterte, through Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, to reimpose the death penalty that was abolished in 20016 under the Gloria Arroyo administration in 2006 through Republic Act No. 9346 or the “Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines.”
This actually has the makings of a legislative merry-go-round, depending on the temperament of who sits in Malacañang because in 1993, or under the Fidel V. Ramos administration, Congress passed RA 7659 or the “Death Penalty Law.” Now, Duterte and Alvarez have House Bill 4727 seeking the death penalty’s revival.
The measure lists 21 crimes that it considers as heinous, including murder, infanticide, parricide, rape, treason, qualified piracy, qualified bribery, and yes, plunder. The House of Representatives opened debates on the bill in the plenary yesterday after its recent approval by the House justice committee.
Anyway, while I am against the re-imposition of the death penalty, I consider as interesting the proposal last week by the House “supermajority” to take out plunder from the list of heinous crimes. That received flak from the public and let us see who among the congressmen will move to have plunder deleted in the plenary.
So allow an anti-death penalty person to comment on how lawmakers are cobbling together a pro-death penalty bill. I mean, plunder not a heinous crime?
But we are talking here of politicians most of whom are wary of making a hammer that could end up being used to crack their own skulls. Remember the anti-political dynasty measure that has remained in the realm of talk for decades now? Even the previous administration of Benigno Aquino III only paid lip service to it.
Many politicians are eager-beavers when it comes to imposing the death penalty for crimes usually committed in the “outside realm” (in households, in the barangays, etc.) but do fear it if imposed within their realm (in the government). Which begs the question: Why not reject House Bill 4727 altogether?
I understand why Alvarez is flip-flopping on the plunder issue. He went with the House majority lobbying for the exclusion of plunder as heinous crime but lately, using the House probe into the questioned lease agreement by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. as escape hatch, wants it included again.
Wasn’t Alvarez charged with plunder in 2001 while with the Manila International Airport Authority? The anti-graft office dismissed the case, though.