Editorial: Taking two steps backwards

www.nordis.net

The backward and savage character among men has surfaced and taken lead in the House of Representatives with the reinstatement of the death penalty in the Philippine Justice system. However it may be justified, in a civilized society it is inhuman. It must be especially for a population who believe they are Christians who teach and who live by the Bible… “thou shall not kill.”

A majority of politicians in the lower house of Congress “passed” on second reading the bill for the reinstatement of the death penalty, although a third and final reading will yet be made, both sides agreed to forego debates and reinstate the death penalty for drug-related crimes. Not far behind is a proposed measure to treat erring children as young as nine as adult criminals. Both the punishment by death and the treatment for children, were campaign promises repeatedly made by then candidate for president Duterte.

The Philippines is a signatory to and ratified in 1986 the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” a convention which prevents execution as a form of punishment. The 1987 Constitution prohibited the death penalty making the Philippines the first Asian country to abolish capital punishment but it also allowed Congress to reinstate it “hereafter” for “heinous crimes”.

The Philippines also adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 29 November 1989 as a member of the United Nations general assembly which defines the child as anyone below 18 years old.

In 1987, under President Cory Aquino’s administration, the death penalty was abolished but President Fidel Ramos citing crime control ‘reinstated it in 1993, and in 2006 capital punishment was suspended by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

The opposition view that “criminals should be punished and victims should be aided, but the punishment should not be death. Due to our flawed and dysfunctional criminal justice system, there is a great chance that innocent people may become victims of wrongful convictions.”

This is reflected by the record of the present administration of some 7000 extra-judicially killed victims, in the name of its war on drugs. 11 years of the country being in the front line of the moral crusade against the death penalty in word and in deed has now fallen further back into the uncivilized dark ages.

While media is of the opinion that the president’s “tokhang” campaign against the drug trade has the popular support of the majority of Filipinos, why are its victims from the economically challenged sector of the population, who besides being the larger part of Filipinos are also those least served by the justice system, by basic government services as health, education, or livelihood support, etc.? The reinstatement of the death penalty cannot therefore be the popular choice of the Filipino People but one of some bootlicking, greedy and popularity seeking goblin. # nordis.net

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