De Lima vows to fight death penalty

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Sen. Leila M. de Lima today vowed to fight the administration-sponsored move in the Senate to pass a law reinstating the death penalty which has not been proven with credible empirical evidence as an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes.

De Lima made the avowal as the Senate is expected to commence this week consideration of at least five measures re-imposing death penalty in the country which had been outlawed during the Arroyo administration.

“It is shaping out to be a fight. It is not a fight that we are called to fight with our fists, weapons or even words. It is a fight we must fight in our minds: the fight to resist being psychologically and morally broken down by events,” she said.

“Death was never as much an effective instrument of justice, as it has been a horrifyingly potent weapon for the politically and militarily powerful to wield against those they seek to oppress and subjugate,” she added.

Instead, the Senator from Bicol said she will push for the immediate passage of a measure she authored which seeks to increase the period for reclusion perpetua or life sentence to 50 years with no possibility of parole as an alternative to death penalty.

“I am not only fighting several legislative measures pending before the Senate that will bring back the death penalty, but also I am championing my own alternative bill imposing qualified reclusion perpetua for extraordinary heinous crimes,” she said.

De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) 368 which seeks to establish the penalty of reclusion perpetua as punishment for those convicted of extraordinary heinous crimes, such as trafficking, terrorism, kidnapping, carnapping, rape, murder, plunder, among others.

The former justice secretary also vowed to champion other legislative measures that seek to empower, improve and modernize our criminal justice system to make it more effective and responsive to modern times.

She also filed SB 369 which seeks to streamline and strengthen the process of criminal investigation that will expedite and improve the administration of the criminal justice system in the country.

Even during the Aquino administration, De Lima had always been vocal against moves by some quarters to reintroduce death penalty law which she said is especially deleterious and prejudicial to the poor.

“My insight as former justice secretary is that by far, the most damning testimony against capital punishment is the wrongful sentences that have plagued different jurisdictions in the world pursuing the hallow promise of death penalty,” she said.

“If you think about it, the most certain promise of death penalty is the collective nightmare of a people who will eventually wake up to realize that an erroneous death sentence is immutably and tragically irreversible,” she added.

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