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Death penalty is ‘anti-poor’ – rights group

March 16, 2017 ·  By Madonna T. Virola, Mar S. Arguelles, Michael Jaucian for newsinfo.inquirer.net

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LEGAZPI CITY – A militant human rights group in Bicol said the poor would be the target of abuses should the death penalty bill be passed as a law.

Vince Casilihan, Bayan Bicol spokesperson, said the death penalty is not the solution to crime.

“It has been proven in other countries that having death penalty does not serve as deterrence against crime,” he said, adding that the proposed law is anti-poor. “It will only lead to more human rights violations.”

Some individuals who also learned of the news of the House of Representatives approval of the death penalty bill Tuesday also feared that the reimposition of the capital punishment would be abused by those in power.

Hermes Miraflor, 66, a real estate broker from Daraga town in Albay, said the proposed bill is discriminatory and self-serving since it only favors incumbent lawbreakers “who are themselves plunderers, murderers, rapists or in short criminals planning to save or exclude themselves from this proposed bill.”

Lawyer Jose Leo Vega from Ligao City, Albay said the bill was hastily passed on the 3rd reading.

“The judge will choose the method of execution. It was only limited to drug pushing… other more heinous crime should have been included such as plunder, rape, treason and murder…,” he said.

“…That there is the possibility for that person, as an act of redemption, to demonstrate his worth to society in some meaningful ways eliminates the need for the death penalty. In itself, a sentence of life imprisonment is a fair and universally tolerated maximum penalty for violators of heinous crimes,” Freddie Tesalona, a native of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro and the founder and executive director of Lubang-Looc International based in New York, said.

But there are also those who believe the revival of the death penalty is essential.

Marcial Tuanqui, Director Albay Chamber of Commerce, said the death penalty bill should be approved “as we need such punishment for hardened criminals and to deter others from committing serious crimes.”

“The essence of the law is in its implementation, strict and serious in a sense. (I’m in) favor of death penalty as long as there will also be a review of the justice system,” said Don Zian Encarnacion, college professor, City of Calapan.

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