Picture this and be justifiably terrified to your 207th bone:
A nine-year-old girl, handcuffed and shackled, is led by men old enough to be her great grandfathers to a gurney where she would be strapped and then injected with lethal chemicals until she is assuredly dead to boast to the rest of the world that crime does not pay, at least under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines.
That scenario would likely happen unless some lawmakers gathered the nerve to stand up against supporters of Duterte in the House of Representatives who, it is feared, would “railroad” a proposed bill lowering the age of criminal liability to nine.
The President’s critics have accused Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and his rah-rah boys in the chamber of railroading the proposed Death Penalty Law, so what is there to prevent them from doing an encore with making a nine-year-old, boy or girl, pay with his or her life for being a “drug addict?”
A drug addict, drug dealer, plunderer, traitor, pirate, rapist, murderer and car thief are only eight of the 21 criminal offenders who would have a date with the executioner if the capital-punishment bill were passed on third and final reading before Christmas, as the Malacañang-compliant super majority in the House had promised the President.
The doomed under the reimposed death penalty for heinous crimes can take their pick of lethal injection, hanging or firing squad as their preferred means of kicking the bucket in a sickening farce showing that democracy is alive even in dying in that you are given freedom of choice to meet your Maker in these parts.
If the age of criminal liability were lowered, then a provision of the capital-punishment measure exempting from the bed, rope or bullet an offender if he or she is below 18 or more than 70 years old would be meaningless and Alvarez’s pet bill and that making 9 as the benchmark for criminal liability will have been disgustingly reconciled.
Well, the revival of the death penalty would decongest the courts, make lazy bones of judges who would just apply the law to the letter and sentence every plunderer and traitor to the reaper, free already crammed jails in the country of unwanted rapists and murderers or stop population growth and so now you can talk about shooting and killing so many birds with one little, tiny stone.
With children not spared by the proposed Death Penalty Law and the proposed lowering of the age of criminal liability, the irony of the President’s relentless war on illegal drugs is acutely felt in that the very young whom he has repeatedly said he wants to protect from illegal drugs and their vendors are the same ones whom the two bills want to get rid of.
Well, again, the pure spectacle of putting nine-year-old Pepe or nine-year-old Pilar to death could be made less blood-curdling by sending one or both to heaven accompanied by a choir singing nursery rhymes.
Or, Pepe, who will most likely be from the poorer side of town as also feared by Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Dinagat, can be sent to his death with a tablet for playing games as he is blindfolded before facing a firing squad.
And, Pilar can be sent to her doom by making her carry a Barbie doll whose blonde hair she can comb as a noose is tightened around her neck.
We believe that the pro-death penalty bloc can find more creative ways to ease the horror and pain of hanging and, we won’t mind, they can railroad such ways, knowing that they have this obsession with the macabre.
Meanwhile, we hope–and earnestly pray–that the President is not one of those whom the gods wish to destroy.