Tell it to Sun.Star: Death penalty

(This is a manifesto of Flag Region 7 on President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to re-impose the death penalty and Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña’s kill-a-criminal-for-a-reward method to end criminality.)

THE Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) Region 7 strongly opposes and condemns President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to re-impose the death penalty and Cebu City Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña’s “kill-a-criminal-for-a-reward method” to end criminality in our society.

Studies conducted by the United Nations showed that these executions have no deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Capital punishment, whether by hanging as proposed by Duterte or by any other means, is simply legalized murder. It runs counter to our international commitment as a signatory to the 2nd Protocol for the Observance of Civil and Political Rights.

With our inept and sometimes corrupt police investigative work and our imperfect justice system, capital punishment will only work against the poor and in favor of the rich who can afford to bribe witnesses and hire the most expensive lawyers who have connections with the judiciary.

Death penalty is barbaric, unchristian, and uncivilized. It will not solve criminality which is merely a symptom of a decaying society. It will only promote a culture of death.

Similarly, Mayor-elect Osmeña’s “kill-a-criminal-for-a reward method” to end criminality is clearly a poor version of Duterte’s shoot-to-kill orders against criminals and an implementation of the latter’s electoral platform to adopt summary executions.

Mayor Osmeña’s method of solving crimes in Cebu City is plain vigilantism and will only promote more violence in our society. Giving policemen, barangay officials and plain citizens bounty to “neutralize” a “criminal” is practically granting these people the license to act as judge, jury and executioner at the same time.

Shooting down an unarmed snatcher inside a jeepney or a robbery suspect in the streets may have a dramatic appeal on the citizens grown weary by years of unsolved crimes. But lawlessness cannot be solved by lawless methods and a supposed civilized society must observe the rule of law instead of the rule of the gun.

Flag Region 7, therefore, strongly urges President-elect Duterte to reconsider his plan of re-imposing the death penalty for being barbaric, unchristian, and contrary to the provisions of the 2nd Protocol for the Observance of Civil and Political rights of which the Philippines is a signatory.

Flag also calls on Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña to immediately stop his “kill-a-criminal-for-a-reward method” because instead of curbing criminality, it will only promote more crimes since trigger happy policemen and some barangay officials with an eye on the monetary reward will have to kill more people through illegal and unconstitutional means.--Free Legal Assistance Group-Region 7, May 21, 2016, Cebu City
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