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The bill of rights, specifically the Eight Amendments, prohibits cruel, degrading, inhuman and unusual punishment. If there is any punishment much crueler than death, then let us know.
There is no question that killing another person is the most heinous crime that one can commit. However, it should have been clear by now that capital punishment is not the solution to our worsening, even desperate crime situation. Besides, it has never been proving that killing criminals actually serve as a deterrent to crime. As our country grows older and wiser, however, evidence clearly points to the fact that the death penalty is never a good solution.
“The Republic Act No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Act is an act in which a criminal who has been proven guilty after doing a heinous crime with the proper due process of law will be executed.” In the long history of the Philippines, the death penalty of the capital punishment was known and accepted fact but is currently suspended as of 2006 when then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the Republic Act No. 9346, also known as An Act Prohibiting the imposition of the Death Penalty in the country as R.A. No. 7659 had not proven to be a deterrent to crime and those who opposed to the said act believed that this is an inhuman, ambiguous, unlawful, expensive and ineffective response to illegal drugs and heinous crimes. But some of its advocate see this act as humane, the most suitable punishment and an effective deterrent to crime as it deters “criminals” from committing serious crimes and they have to think many times before doing it. For them also, without the death penalty, some criminals would continue to commit crimes but they do not know how grievous the circumstances are and how does it affects victims and victims’ families in reality.
Electrocution is a modern method of execution. The other methods in giving punishment to a person who commits crime include strangulation, death by fire, lethal injection, stoning to death, poison, hanging, beheading, and firing squad in which Dr. Jose Rizal experienced on December 30, 1896 during the Spanish Colonisation in Philippines.
Noting the “imperfections” in the criminal justice system, the prospect of executing innocent people remains. Death penalty renders judicial errors irreversible thus; it requires an enormous amount of judicial process because it involves life.
“In September 2015, Pope Francis urged the United States to abolish the death penalty during an address to congress. Similar to a previous pope, Pope Francis advocated abolition because every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted crimes (“Address of the Holy Father”). Although the Roman Catholic Church now opposes capital punishment, their strong stance for abolition is fairly recentralized.”
“The idea that the death penalty will rid the country of drugs is simply wrong. The resumption of executions will not rid the Philippines of problems associated with drugs or deter crime. It is an inhumane, ineffective punishment and is never the solution. The Philippines’ attempts to reintroduce it are clearly unlawful. This will just earn the country notoriety as one of the few countries to revive its horrific use,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
There are many people sent into jail and proven that they did not commit crime so what will happen to a person if he/she is given a capital punishment and evidence turns up later which reveals that this person is innocent? If the “criminal” was put in jail, at least partial reparations could be made later. Obviously, if a person is given the death penalty, there is no turning back. It would be in the best interest of all if the country’s criminal justice system is reformed first.
“The death penalty for alleged drug offenders, like extrajudicial executions, violates international law, deprives people of the right to life, and disproportionately targets the poor,” said Champa Patel. It affects the poorer segments of society and racial minorities disproportionately, and there are strong religious arguments against this act because some Christian groups, such as Catholics, see life as precious and that only God can judge whether a life should be taken away, with God’s judgment generally coming in the afterlife. Advocates of the death penalty typically see it as a natural punishment that enforces Christian morality, which also has biblical justification.
In case capital punishment is restored, improving the efficiency of the judiciary is very crucial to avoid any miscarriage of justice that would send an innocent person to the gallows. There are valid observations that in the final years before capital punishment was abolished, only poor convicts who could not afford good legal advice were the ones executed. The judiciary has long cried out for reforms; this becomes more urgent with the planned revival of the death penalty.
Let us be reminded with this morally-uplifting notion, “Maitatama ba ang mali ng isa pang pagkakamali? Masusugpo ba natin ang kriminalidad sa pamamagitan din ng pamamaraang kriminal?” In the long run, the use of death penalty will increase the acceptance of revenge in our society and will give official sanction to a climate of violence. Moreover, its execution prevents the repentance and rehabilitation of offenders in contrary to Christian love and violates the sanctity of human life. Every person has the right to life and nobody else has the right to remove nor steal it from him/her. Do not let crime multiple into a bigger crime because it should be solved by us as individuals in the society.
True, crime does not and should not pay. It is also true that our society needs to be protected from the claws of criminal elements. But there is a way to do it without sacrificing our humanity and without transforming ourselves into savages.
Truly, the end justifies the mean. Let us come to think of it.
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