• ‘Death penalty will not stop drug trade’

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    THE proposal to reinstate death penalty for high-level drug manufacturing and trafficking will not help solve the illegal drug problem, an analyst said Sunday.

    Prof. Bobby Tuazon, Director for Policy Studies of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG), said there is no scientific evidence that proves capital punishment can deter crimes, including drugs-related cases.

    Only 10 countries impose the death penalty on heinous crimes such as murder, and there has been no reduction in drug-related crimes, he said.

    Tuazon cited Indonesia, which executes convicted drug offenders. Despite the imposition of capital punishment, the number of drug users increased to 5.9 million in 2015 from 3.6 million in 2011.

    Iranian authorities have admitted the failure of capital punishment in reducing drug trafficking in their country, Tuazon noted.

    Moreover, in the US, states with no death penalty have lower murder rates compared with those that impose the death penalty.

    “The reinstatement of death penalty on drugs-related crimes will not reduce drug trafficking in the Philippines. More horrible than the drugs trade is the country’s flawed criminal justice system,” Tuazon pointed out.

    The House of Representatives approved on second reading last week House Bill (HB) 4727 or the death penalty bill. The priority measure is expected to pass on third and final reading this week.

    Under the HB 4727, death penalty will only cover individuals convicted of high-level manufacturing and trafficking of illegal drugs.

    Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd expects a close fight between senators for or against returning capital punishment.

    A number of senators however remain open to supporting the bill and may be swayed by limiting its scope to the most heinous crimes, such as high-level syndicated drug trafficking, he said.

    The first public hearing of the Senate justice committee on the death penalty bill was indefinitely suspended amid worries the country might violate the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights signed by the government in 1986.

    But Pimentel said the Philippine government could justify the re-imposition of the death penalty on the premise that the country would never surrender its sovereignty.

    Tuazon said Filipinos should be bothered more by the criminal justice system that is made dysfunctional by corruption, lack of professionalism and competence, as well as a culture of impunity that afflicts – in varying degrees – such institutions as the police, prosecutors, the courts, anti-graft agencies and corrections facilities.

    “In this context, we cannot expect a fair and judicious administration of justice as far as drug-related crimes are concerned,” he added.

    The US Department of State’s latest report on human rights violations across the world mentioned the Philippines’ “weak and overburdened criminal justice system notable for slow court procedures, weak prosecutions, and poor cooperation between police and investigators.”

    Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto agreed with the US observation and said law enforcement is plagued by logistical shortfalls and manpower shortages.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) is almost 50,000 men short of what is ideally required, and lacks 18,000 long firearms and 3,000 patrol vehicles.

    The situation of the Public Attorneys’ Office is worse, because each public defender attends to 5,000 clients per year.

    “Our prosecutors are saddled by the same problems. Some 1,700 vacancies remain unfilled, burdening each of the 2,000 in service with a punishing average load of 500 cases,” Recto said.

    As for the judiciary, of the 367 municipal trial courts, only 289 have judges. A quarter of the 1,229 regional trial courts either have no judge or have yet to be organized.

    The country’s prison system is also facing the problem of overpopulation with an average congestion rate of 215 percent.

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    8 Comments

    1. Its the economy stupid!
      Impoverished population tends to get involved in crimes and drugs!
      Put them to work and it will lessen their drug dependency.
      We will not even talk about death penalty.
      The problem we have is the mud slinging and bickering among politicians that cannot put their heads straight to put this country’s economy going in full force.
      Crab mentality!

    2. I absolutely agree with Mr. Jefferson Antiporda’s well written article here on the subject of drug and or alcohol addiction.

      Bottom line, both of these addictions are simply a SYMPTOM of a greater disease, and that is the disease(s) of poverty, hunger, desperation, despair and depression. Of course there ARE a few wealthy alcoholic / addicts and there is NO denial that alcohol / drug addiction are gennetically predisposed diseases but the majority of addicts, especially here in the Philippines, are those citizens living in abject poverty. They take alcohol and or druges in order to ausage their hunger, desperation, despair or depression and at some undeterminable point, they become addicted.

      Addiction IS a medically recogonized DISEASE ! There is NO argument about that. Addiction SHOULD not carry any stigma anymore than TB, Cancer or any other common deadly disease.

      Sadly these addictions are incurable but ARE controllable and can be put in total remission simply by NOT using; sadly again, it is NOT that easy. Most addicts require some form of rehabilitation and a lifetime support group such as Alcoholics Annonimus (AA) or Narcotics Annoninus (NA). The good news is both of these support groups already exist all over the Philippines and the world.

      God bless & best wishes.
      ALWAYS,
      U.P.

    3. Whitegray Memories on

      Nothing stops crime, nothing deters it. It’s in a twisted man’s spirit that needs to be healed. What we don’t understand is the death penalty is not a deterrent to anything. It is a PENALTY. You don’t need to read between the lines.

    4. Mr. Antiporda mas mabuti ng may Death penalty kesa sa wala at least may katatakutan ang ng pilipino na gago at matino na gusto maging gago. Pero kung ang Death penalty ay pang decorasyon sa batas at wala naman papatayin wala nga matatakot subalit kung tototohanin ni Duterte na gagawin niya kurtina ang mga namamatay na nahatulan ng kamatayan ewan ko lang kung wala matakot. Ano sa palagay mo? Kung may mabitay kaya sampu tao sa sampung araw sa loob ng isang buwan at sa loob ng isang taon makakaya pang kaya magtapang-tapangan ang ng mga kriminal na yan.

    5. Death penalty is not being revive to deter drug trade, it is there as a retribution for the crimes they have committed.

    6. For every serious problem there’s always a root deeply buried underneath. Unless the root gets dug out into the open and eventually appropriately addressed, a serious problem such as drug use and proliferation in our (poor, mostly) communities will even grow and become worse. Congress, for its seeming alacrity with death penalty as the solution to the drug problem in our miserable land, could be remiss on this angle, so significant to be left at the side. Mr. Antiporda’s piece sounds timely and urgent. Calling our Congress!

    7. So be it. If the death penalty will not stop the drug trade. I am sure that early deaths of drug lords and drug pushers will slow down or stop the drug trade. The people will agree that we don’t need the court to give death sentence to the drug lords and pushers, just execute them, including the criminal cops, criminal politicians.

    8. Let us assume that death penalty can’t stop criminals from drug trade, so be it. But they must still be put to death as a maximum payment for a maximum offense.