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Atienza: Duterte admin has lost chance to reinstate death penalty in the Philippines

Rodrigo Duterte
Rodrigo Duterte
Thousands march against the death penalty
On Friday, 19 May, the 'March for Life' a caravan of pilgrims who left from Midanao on May 6, along a route that crossed the entire archipelago, reached Manila, to say "no" to the death penalty

Fr Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of the 'National Secretariat for Social Action, of the Philippines Bishops Conference, took part in the march, together with many priests and religious faithful, members of civil society organizations.

The marchers will present a petition to the Philippine Senate on May 24, inviting senators to reject the death penalty, a measure promoted by President Rodrigo Duterte and approved 2 months ago.

"The death penalty will only punish the poor, who cannot afford lawyers, and many innocents", says the text of the petition. It notes that "capital punishment is illegal as it would violate the existing international treaties, of which the Philippine Government is a signatory."

The adoption of capital punishment, it says, will also have economic repercussions, since "the European Union will impose a tax on 6,000 products imported from the Philippines", especially agricultural and fishery products.

"Let us pray for our senators to decide on the basis of conscience and reason by rejecting the death penalty."

The marchers will join thousands of people for a Mass presided by Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila today, 21 May.

"The use of the death penalty should be ruled out as an instrument in the fight against crime, and should be replaced by alternative measures", the cardinal said.

"All crimes violate life, but (we must respond) without resorting to measures that also violate life, like capital punishment", said Tagle. "With personal and collective study, prayer, discernment and action, we hope to be a people that promote a culture of life", he said.

Source: Independent Catholic News, May 19, 2017


Atienza: Duterte admin has lost chance to reinstate death penalty


President Rodrigo Duterte may have already lost his chance to reinstate and implement the death penalty during his term, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

House senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Representative Jose "Lito" Atienza said the administration has already lost its chance to execute convicted criminals given the lack of time.

"The administration may have already come to terms with the reality that it is now impossible for anybody to be executed via a court order throughout President (Rodrigo) Duterte's tenure, simply because at best it takes around 5 years for any potential (death penalty) case to go through due process of law, and his term also ends in 5 years," he said in an emailed statement.

"Owing to lack of time, the President won't get to have his show after all, so it seems that the administration is no longer keen on producing the show," he added.

The House of Representatives last month approved on 3rd and final reading the bill to reinstate the death penalty.

Several groups such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the Human Rights Watch have expressed concern over the Duterte administration's move to reimpose death penalty in the country.

"The Senate is clearly not going to pass the bill before the end of the 1st regular session of the 17th Congress on June 2," Atienza said.

"We reckon the Senate, in particular, will also be extra busy deliberating on the proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Package, assuming the bill gets through the House before June 2," he added.

7 death penalty proposals are pending at the Senate justice committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, who is against the proposals.

The House of Representatives and the Senate must agree on all provisions of a death penalty proposal before it is sent to Malacañang for the President's signature.

Source: gmanetwork.com, May 21, 2017


No more death penalty?


The administration may have already come to terms with the reality that it is now impossible for anybody to be executed via a court order throughout President (Rodrigo) Duterte's tenure, simply because at best it takes around 5 years for any potential (death penalty) case to go through due process of law, and his term also ends in 5 years. Owing to lack of time, the President won't get to have his show after all, so it seems that the administration is no longer keen on producing the show.

Duterte has publicly said he intends to send hundreds of convicts to the gallows once Congress reintroduces the death penalty that was abolished in 2006.

"Restore it and I will execute criminals every day--5 or 6. That's for real," Duterte said in General Santos City in December. The bill reviving death sentences was passed by the House in March. But the measure is already "dead" in the Senate, where at least 13 members are committed to vote against it, according to Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon.

There is now no chance at all that the return of death verdicts would be enacted this year. The Senate is clearly not going to pass the bill before the end of the first regular session of the 17th Congress on June 2.

In the 2nd regular session of the 17th Congress, both the House and the Senate would be preoccupied with the proposed General Appropriations Act for 2018 from August to December. We reckon the Senate in particular will also be extra busy deliberating on the proposed Comprehensive Tax Reform Package, assuming the bill gets through the House before June 2.

The death penalty was "killed" by a series of dreadful police atrocities, starting with the Oct. 18 tokhang-for-ransom and murder of South Korean business executive Jee Ick-Joo inside Camp Crame itself. It served as a big eye-opener.

Every citizen would be vulnerable to the death penalty as long as we have thousands of rotten officers around. Somebody up there truly works in mysterious ways, because Jee's killers obviously went to great lengths to cover-up their crime by immediately cremating his remains, and yet they were still exposed.

Source: Subn Star, Opinion; Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, May 21, 2017

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