'Death penalty is anti-poor': Senate hopefuls bare stand on capital punishment

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 06 2018 08:02 PM

MANILA - Three senate hopefuls gave their opinion on the issue of the reinstatement of death penalty.

Human rights lawyers Atty. Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno and Atty. Neri Colmenares both agreed better implementation of justice in this country can do more than implementing death penalty.

According to Diokno, the death penalty is anti-poor.

"Alam niyo, anti-poor ang death penalty. Ang nahahatulan lang ng death sentence ay ang mahihirap, at alam naman natin na ang issue ng death penalty, hindi yan ang sagot sa krimen," he said on Ikaw Na Ba? The DZMM Senatorial Candidates' Interview."

(The death penalty is anti-poor. Those sentenced to death are mostly poor, and we know death penalty is not the solution to crime.)

"Sabi nga sa Ingles, it is not the severity of the punishment, but the certainty of the punishment that deters crime," Diokno added.

Crime can be stopped if criminals know they will be punished.

"Kung alam ng mga kriminal na kung may sala sila ay mapaparusahan sila, 'yan ang magpipigil sa kanila. Hindi 'yung sasabihin natin na, ay, patayin na natin 'yan," Diokno also said.

(If criminals who are at fault know they will be punished, that will stop them from doing criminal acts. Not death.)

For Colmenares, death penalty has not been proven to deter crime.

"Hindi solusyon ang death penalty. Una, deterrence. Alam niyo, kung sakaling kahit 10 taon lang ang kulong, hindi death penalty, pero swift and sure justice 'yan. Yan ang deterrence na tunay. Pero kahit 100 million years ang kulong o death penalty pa, kung alam ng kriminal na puwedeng bayaran si fiscal, si pulis, si judge, si NBI, makakaligtas siya, walang deterrence 'yan," he said.

(Death penalty is not a solution. First, in terms of deterrence. In case a criminal is sent to jail for 10 years instead of being sentenced to death, that is swift and sure justice. That can deter crime. But even if you send a criminal to jail for 100 million years or even sentence him to death, if he knows the judge, the fiscal, the police or authorities can be bribed, it will not deter crime.)

He also argued many countries remain peaceful despite not having death penalty.

"Maraming mga bansa na walang death penalty. Sabi nila, kapag walang death penalty, grabe ang krimen. Hindi. Mga Scandinavian countries, marami diyan walang death penalty pero peaceful ang bansa nila, etc.," Colmenares said.

(There are a lot of country without death penalty. They say crimes will be worse if there is no death penalty but it's not true. Scandinavian countries remain peaceful even without death penalty.)

Antonio Valdes, on the hand, has a different opinion on death penalty.

"Ako po sang-ayon po ako sa death penalty...sang-ayon ako 'pag extra-heinous crime. 'Yun pong mass murder," he said.

(I am in favor of death penalty. Like what Persida Acosta said, I am in favor if it is for extra-heinous crimes like mass murder.)

"If it can be proven that the perpetrators of the crime premeditated and they did it willfully and they knew that many are going to die and they still gave the order, it will be like ordering the people to die," Valdes added.

As an example, Valdes said the death penalty can be imposed on those involved in the Dengvaxia mess, should they be proven guilty.

"It seems that those who have given the order to inoculate one million children knew already that there was a risk of fatalities, and the risk of fatalities were going to affect 80 percent of those they have inoculated," he said.

'Yun pong ganiyan, that means you knew that thousands will die. This is a heinous crime. This is mass murder, and this is not what we are referring to as anti-poor. This thing should never ever be repeated in our history," he added.

A certified public accountant by profession, this is the first time Valdes is taking a shot at a political post.

The same is true for Diokno, who is one of the 10 children of late senator and Commission on Human Rights founding chair Jose "Pepe" Diokno.

Colmenares, meanwhile, is giving the Senate another shot after losing in the 2016 elections.