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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Imposing the death penalty

I WRITE regarding my concerns on the reimposition of the death penalty. Before writing this, I read articles for or against capital punishment and did my best to be impartial.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed his post, he has made many questionable decisions. This one, I believe, is the most controversial of all. It has divided the country. Matters have worsened when the Roman Catholic Church added its considerable voice against the bill.

Reasons for supporting the death penalty bill included using death penalty as a deterrence to crime and the belief that it is the only suitable punishment for certain heinous crimes. The other side believes that the capital punishment is against the most basic human right. The right to live.

After reading all the available materials I could find, I realized I did not succeed in my quest to remain impartial and to view the subject as an outsider would. I am against the reimposition of the death penalty. It goes against all my religious beliefs. And unfortunately, in my case, my religion is too deeply ingrained in me that I cannot view the subject impartially.

I imagine lawmakers going through the same thing during the numerous debates. Religion really influences a great many things in our lives, sometimes even to the point of blinding us.

But that is not the case on the subject of death penalty. I believe it simply comes down to what is right and wrong. Is it right to legalize murder?

I’ve read comments in the internet saying that certain criminals deserve death, that it is the only way for true justice to be served. That these people do not deserve second chance. After all, shouldn’t a person’s punishment be equal to his/her crime? As the popular saying goes, “an eye for an eye.”

This may be true, after all, if I would put myself in the place of the victim. I would also be shouting for justice. And since death seems to be the worst punishment out there, then it is what I would wish upon the person who harmed me.

But actually doing it is different from wishing for it. It is what separates murderers from the victims. And passing the death penalty bill is simply legalizing murder.

Those criminals that some people regard as trash to be disposed of are also people that God gave life to. They may not deserve it but no one has the right to end that life. All life is sacred. Even those of the vilest criminals.

I write this letter to you in the hope of making a mere student’s voice be heard. The death penalty bill may solve the country’s rising crime rate problems. It may even bring justice to the victims of the crimes. And I realize that arguments based on religion are not enough to sway public opinion.

But I would like everyone to remember this: We are human. We are not infallible. Who are we to decide who lives and who dies?--Pamela Malate
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