Anticipating plenary debates on the re-imposition of the death penalty, Gabriela lawmakers reiterated their position against the proposal and joined fellow Makabayan bloc lawmakers in presenting their position against House Bill 01.
“Banta sa buhay at batayang karapatan ang parusang kamatayan, lalo na para sa pinakamahihirap nating mga kababayan na inosente at biktima ng bulok na sistema ng hustisya sa Pilipinas. Maging ang pinapangako nitong pagsawata sa panggagahasa at iba pang mga karumaldumal na krimen laban sa kababaihan ay isang kabalintunaan,” said Gabriela representative Emmi De Jesus, lamenting the flawed and inaccessible justice system in the country.
The Gabriela solon said the incidence of rape, including child rape continued to rise even after the re-imposition of the death penalty and the execution of Leo Echegaray in 1999 when the Philippine National Police data reported a total of 3,289 victims. Over 15 years, the annual average of rape incidents reached 3,899.
De Jesus further said, “Even victims of rape and heinous crimes against women will not be assured of justice. We have seen how offenders from wealthy and powerful sections of society, manage to manipulate courts and escape accountability. Amid this backdrop of injustice, we cannot allow the death penalty.”
Fellow Gabriela lawmaker Arlene Brosas also warned against using the death penalty to quell unrest and criticism and further said, the re-imposition of the death penalty is a wrong prescription to cure increased criminality.
“As it is, we have been seeing the criminalization of political offenses. Activists and revolutionaries vocal in criticizing various government policies and pursuing alternative solutions to the social crises are being charged with criminal offenses that may consequently be penalized with death.”
Brosas further warned that with four out of ten law enforcers said to be involved in rogue activities, the death penalty opens another floodgate for abuse from the police and other persons of authority.
“The death penalty will breed further injustice amid heightened poverty, social inequities and a deeply flawed justice system. We oppose the re-imposition of the death penalty.” #