De Lima welcomes Lacson’s withdrawal of death penalty bill, pushes anew for qualified reclusion perpetua


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima urged her Senate colleagues, who have given their support for the reimposition of the death penalty for heinous crimes, to reconsider their stand and adopt a mindset of restorative justice instead.

De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, reiterated her firm stand against restoration of capital punishment as she welcomed Sen. Ping Lacson’s withdrawal of his authorship of a measure seeking to reinstate death penalty in the country.

“Wonderful that Sen. Ping has changed his position on death penalty. Indeed, it’s far worse to execute, and even just jail, an innocent human being,” she said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I humbly ask the rest of my colleagues to reconsider their support for this unchristian and anti-poor measure and adopt a mindset of restorative justice,” she added in a separate statement.  “Let us all say no to death penalty which gives a mass murderer more license to kill, kill, kill!”

In his letter dated Nov. 8 to Senate Secretary Atty. Myra Villarica, Lacson reportedly requested that Senate Bill No. 27, or “An Act Reinstituting the Death Penalty in the Philippines,” no longer be considered for deliberations by the Committees on Justice and Human Rights, and on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.

Presidential aspirant Lacson, along with his running mate in next year’s elections, Sen. Tito Sotto, recently said they no longer support capital punishment, but prefer lifetime imprisonment instead. The two were both known to be staunch advocates of the death penalty.

It can be noted that Duterte and his allies in Congress have consistently pushed for the reinstatement of death penalty.

De Lima, a staunch anti-death penalty advocate, has reiterated her firm and unwavering position that death penalty is not the solution, as it does not deter criminality.

“Honest-to-goodness, corruption-free law enforcement and certainty of punishment are the real deterrents,” De Lima insisted.

“There have been documented and verified cases of wrongful convictions and wrongful executions even in jurisdictions with fairly advanced criminal justice system. With our country’s flawed justice system, executing an innocent person – an irreversible tragedy – is a real possibility,” she added.

De Lima further urged her colleagues to revisit and help push for the passage of her measure imposing qualified reclusion perpetua on extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder, as well as other pending measures on prison reforms.

“As the efficacy and morality of the death penalty is questionable at best, there is a need to legislate an alternative punishment against extraordinary heinous crimes.

“As I’ve stressed in my Proposed Senate Bill No. 187, the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua and a fine of ₱5,000,000.00, will send a clear message that we do not take heinous crimes lightly nor do we condone those who perpetrate them,” she said.

In said Bill, De Lima proposes the punishment of life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole, be meted out for extraordinary heinous crimes in lieu of the death penalty, which she said has failed to prove as an effective deterrent against heinous crimes.

If enacted into law, De Lima’s measure will impose the penalty of qualified reclusion perpetua on persons found guilty of treason, piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002. The measure also covers other extraordinary heinous crimes. (30)

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