De Lima: my situation is ‘best argument’ against the restoration of the death penalty


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the Filipino public to continue expressing their strong opposition to the planned re-imposition of the death penalty law in the country.

In her message read by Ms. Jean Enriquez during the Movement Against the Anti-Terrorism Act (MATA) webinar on the renewed push for death penalty last Aug. 7, De Lima said capital punishment will never be acceptable because of the possibility of wrongful convictions and executions, especially under an authoritarian regime.

“When Duterte made a renewed call to re-impose the death penalty during his 5th SONA with no response from the audience, he had to pander for some cheap applause. Not only was the emperor revealed to have no clothes, but his shameless dictatorial streak was also laid bare before the nation,” she said.

“Instead of focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives and ravaged millions of jobs, still foremost on his mind is capital punishment, as if tens of thousands of his own people were not killed in his bloody war on drugs by no less than state agents he, himself, has emboldened. It will never be enough for a blood-thirsty dictator,” she added.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the webinar by the MATA on the issue of death penalty should serve “to enrage the public into saying enough is enough.”

“I thank and commend MATA for providing this platform to discuss how death penalty has no place in policy-making, and should be fiercely opposed if we are to ever realize a just and humane world.”

It may be recalled that, during his 5th State of the Nation Address last July 27, Duterte reiterated his call for the Congress to reinstate death penalty in the country for crimes specified under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

As the first prominent political prisoner under the Dutere regime, De Lima said her situation should serve as the “best argument” against capital punishment.

“Not only is death penalty severe, it is also irreversible for the falsely accused which are aplenty in our deeply flawed justice system. I am one of them. The drug cases against me are all trumped-up, based on perjured or coerced testimonies from Bilibid inmates and other dubious characters. I am a clear victim of false prosecution and malevolent persecution,” she said.

“Imagine this scenario—there is now a death penalty and I get convicted! I cannot stress enough that wrongful convictions and executions are a real possibility under a tyrannical, oppressive and evil regime,” she added.

In stressing her opposition to the reimposition of death penalty in the country, De Lima noted that capital punishment is being abolished worldwide because it has never been proven to deter crime any more than long-term imprisonment.

“As such, I have filed a bill introducing the alternative penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua for heinous crimes. I also proposed a measure to streamline and strengthen the process of criminal investigation that will expedite and improve the administration of criminal justice in the country,” she noted.

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