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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

More police abuses with death penalty on


THE kidnapping of a businessman and his girlfriend in Pasay City by four police officers and the discovery of a tokhang-for-ransom dungeon run by drug enforcement agents in Manila should serve as a wakeup call for Congress to once and for all abandon the revival of the death penalty, amid rambling law enforcement corruption.

Right now, we are already witness to the unbridled abuse of police powers by rotten officers. The problem is bound to get worse once we have the death penalty.

Crooked officers engaged in all sorts of criminal activities would have a heyday if capital punishment is reinstated.

They will use the mere threat of death sentences to get whatever they want from their targets--from their victims.

Violent crime is thriving not because of the absence of the death penalty, but because law enforcement has been overwhelmed by corruption.

Instead of fighting hoodlums, many officers are themselves wrapped up in all sorts of felonious undertakings--from drug trafficking, extortion and protection rackets, kidnapping-for-ransom, robbery, carjacking, murder-for-hire, to illegal gambling and prostitution.

There should be comprehensive reforms in the entire criminal justice system, from law enforcement to corrections.

The death penalty won’t address rampant crime. On the contrary, it is guaranteed to spur more crime, particularly those perpetrated by hooligans in uniform.

No less than President Rodrigo Duterte has implied that up to 40 percent of the country’s 160,000 police officers may be linked to illegal activities.

The House, voting 217-54 with a lone abstention on March 7, approved on final reading the bill which would impose death sentences on drug-related offenses.
I was among those who fought against the passage of the bill in the House, arguing that the extreme punishment is anti-poor and violates the sanctity of human life.

In the Senate, the committee on justice chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon has so far had only one hearing on the bill bringing back death sentences.

Gordon last week urged the Duterte administration to heed calls made by United Nations member states for the Philippines to abort plans to restore the death penalty.

The senator warned that many developed countries “tie restrictions or cancel aid if you have the death penalty.”

As for Buhay Party-list, it envisions a modern, progressive and humane Philippine republic grounded strongly on a culture of life--on respect for the blessedness and inviolability of human life.

Buhay believes that the certainty of capture and punishment is the best deterrence to other would-be criminal offenders.

Buhay considers the death penalty anti-poor, convinced that only underprivileged citizens inadequately represented at trial would receive it, while moneyed people with topnotch lawyers would always escape conviction, or get the lesser punishment.(Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza)

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