Buhay party-list Rep. Jose “Lito” Atienza expressed full support for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s strong anti-crime stance, but he cautioned the incoming Congress against a “mad rush” to reinstate the death penalty.
Duterte earlier said in a news conference that he would ask Congress to approve capital punishment, carried out through hanging, for heinous crimes such as drug-related offenses and rape.
“We want our new President to succeed in the war on crime. He deserves everybody’s help in rooting out corruption in law enforcement, the prosecution service, the judiciary and corrections,” Atienza, former three-term mayor of Manila, said in a statement issued on Sunday.
But the lawmaker said that restoring the death penalty will not help curb rampant crime, as he maintained that the best deterrent to crime is the certainty of being caught and punished.
“That killing convicts will somehow lessen crime is a false premise. On the contrary, executions will only engender a culture of violence that will in turn breed even more brutal crimes,” Atienza warned.
“We maintain that the certainty of the swift capture and punishment of felons is our best deterrence to crime,” he said.
The lawmaker pointed out that most countries have recognized that the maximum sentence of life imprisonment is more than enough to serve the ends of justice and to keep societies safe.
According to Atienza, 102 countries have already abolished the death penalty while 38 more have not carried out any executions in the last decade.
“In the years ahead, we envision a highly progressive and humane republic firmly grounded on a culture of life — on respect for the sanctity of human life. We are not dreaming of a backward and callous nation anchored on a medieval culture of death,” he said.
“Our peace and order campaign has long been beset by corruption, if not by ineptitude. We have to address this problem to restore public confidence in our criminal justice system. Reviving the death penalty is not the solution,” he said.