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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Mode of execution could derail death penalty

PRO-LIFE lawmakers are convinced the “mode of execution” would eventually spoil the performance of the death penalty, if and when the extreme punishment is finally revived by Congress.

The proposed death penalty law, or House Bill 4727, which was approved on third reading last week, provides for any of the following methods of execution: hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.

In reality, the methods are now down to just hanging by the neck or by fusillading, because lethal injection drugs are not available anymore.

The manufacture of and global trade in sodium thiopental, a powerful anesthetic, has been effectively stopped by governments and international human rights groups opposed to the death penalty.

The previous and now-repealed 1993 Death Penalty Law, or Republic Act 7659, originally provided for electrocution and once available, gas poisoning, as the method of execution.

However, three years later, Congress decided to pass another law, Republic Act 8177, which dumped electrocution and gas poisoning, and designated lethal injection as the new mode of execution.

The Bureau of Corrections put seven convicts to death via lethal injection from 1999 to 2000, without the help of government doctors, who refused to perform any role in the procedure, citing their Hippocratic Oath “to do no harm.”

Assuming the death penalty bill is finally enacted, we could see the first death row inmate running to the Supreme Court later on, and arguing that he or she could not possibly be executed by hanging or shooting, because these constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that is expressly banned by the Constitution.

Both hanging and firing squad have never been tested against Section 19 of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution, which commands that: “Excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted.

This is why the restoration of the death penalty is an utter waste of time. The Senate should just throw out the death penalty bill.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza
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