Tell it to SunStar: No judicial executions under Duterte

DESPITE the highly publicized passage of a House bill seeking to revive the death penalty, pro-life lawmakers, citing lack of material time, still do not see any judicial executions actually being carried out during President Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure.

Even assuming the Senate caves in, and approves its version of the bill quickly, we seriously doubt there would be any judicial executions at all while Mr. Duterte is in office.

Once the bill reintroducing the death penalty is finally enacted, Atienza said the Department of Justice would need at least another six months to draw up a new Manual of Execution. And this manual will surely be challenged before the Supreme Court, without prejudice to other lawsuits (against the death penalty).

The House, voting 217-54 with one abstention, approved on third and final reading Tuesday the bill restoring the death penalty either by hanging, lethal injection, or firing squad.

Even if we have a new capital punishment law by June, based on our projections, the initial death row inmates with final judgments won’t come in until around mid-2022, or by the end of the President’s term, without counting potential delays due to adverse lawsuits.

Considering that the President won’t get his wish anyway, the Senate should just abandon the (death penalty) bill. The best criminologists around the world have long established that the death penalty does not serve any purpose that is not already being served by the current setup of prolonged imprisonment.

Instead we should focus on wide-ranging criminal justice system reforms.

We have to ensure that every felon is apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and locked up. This is our best strategy to fight crime – to discourage other would-be offenders.

We should now concentrate on suppressing crime by stamping out rampant corruption in law enforcement, the prosecution service, the judiciary, and in prisons.

The seven convicts put to death via lethal injection during Joseph Estrada’s tenure in Malacañang were all executed some five years after they committed their offenses.

Leo Echegaray, Eduardo Agbayani, Dante Piandiong, Archie Bulan, Jesus Morallos, Pablito Andan and Alex Bartolome were executed one after the other an average of 61 months after they perpetrated the crimes for which they were condemned.

Except for Bartolome, who was executed in 2000 for a felony committed in 1995, the rest of the convicts were put to death in 1999 for offenses done in 1994.

Following a six-year halt to executions, Congress finally passed a law abolishing the death penalty in 2006.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza
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