Death penalty will set back the Filipinos’ human development


The Duterte government, its super majority in the House of Representatives and its majority in the Senate are poised to make another act that will pull down the Filipino people rungs below our current level of human development. They will restore the death penalty in our criminal justice system.

Not wishing to offend the majority of our population who are Christians, many of whom do take some teachings of the Lord Jesus and of the churches to heart, these pro-death-penalty government officials and lawmakers have deferred passing the law this Christmas season. But we have learned that they are determined to get the law enacted—in fact, to get the bill railroaded into passage–when Congress resumes its work after the New Year holidays.

Only 58 countries of 195 in our world today still impose the capital punishment.

Among these are Iran, Zimbabwe, China, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Cuba, Belarus, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Congo, Chad, Yemen, Guinea, Bangladesh, and all the Middle East countries except Israel.

Also state executioners are India, Japan, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kuwait, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq and the United States.

Some of these countries only kill criminals who have committed heinous crimes or acts of treason.

But some countries also impose death on blasphemers, apostates — and even eaters of forbidden foods on solemn holy days.

The value of human life
The reason for us Filipinos not to want our government to kill (except in the field of battle in times of war) is the value of human life—from both the spiritual/supernatural viewpoint and the simple perspective of plain reasoning and self-preservation.

Our sage of a Christian columnist F. S. Tatad said it perfectly in a recent column:

“The sticky issue here is human life——the most precious of all gifts from God. Christmas raises human life to its highest level as God becomes man so that man could become the alter ego of God. But human life does not become more precious at Christmas, and less so afterward. Its value is constant. If it is wrong to kill at Christmas, it is wrong to kill at any other time. Even without God becoming man, the creation narrative tells us that human life is the only gift that created its own recipient; man began to exist only after God decided to create him in his own image and likeness.

“Without the gift of life, man would not have existed; this makes life the most preeminent and precious of all gifts. Coming directly from the hand of God, no power on earth has the right to snuff it out. God alone has the right to take the life of anyone who has forfeited it. Yet God spared Cain who killed his brother Abel; and in the case of the woman caught in adultery, for whom the old law prescribed stoning unto death, Christ admonished the crowd, Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. And turning to her, he said, “Has no one condemned you?” “No one,” she said. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more,” he said.

“This means no mere human may lay his hands on another who has committed a heinous crime. Human life is, and ought to be, sacred and inviolate, everywhere and always. No hunting season permits the state to hunt men and women as a hunter hunts wild game for sports or food. The idea of the state killing a man, as a matter of law or right, belonged to a primitive and distant age when very little distinguished men from wild beasts, vengeance from justice; long before human reason, purified by love, cast aside the rule of lex talionis—-an eye for an eye—to a forgotten and unlamented age.”

Execution does not deter criminality
From what we referred to earlier as “the simple perspective of plain reasoning and self-preservation” it is wrong to execute the worst criminals because it has proved to be a failure as a crime deterrent in the empires and modern countries that used it—including the Philippines.

That is the reason why half of the independent countries in our planet have ceased to apply the death sentence, some like the European countries for decades now. Reason moved our lawmakers and government to reject it almost 40 years ago but a dark cloud descended on official thinking and reinstated it, in a half-hearted way that still allowed some criminals to be officially murdered.

Now President Rody Duterte wants it permanently restored. We pray he relents on this project and makes the restraint he exercised during the Christmas season his permanent personal disposition.

May he see that the death penalty is morally and politically wrong.

To us the most compelling reason is that it will, as before, lead to the deaths of our innocent poor compatriots. Some of them admit guilt for crimes committed by rich perpetrators to ensure the financial well-being of their families. Some are fall guys cornered by the guilty supported by corrupt law-enforcers.

Rarely do the guilty rich get meted the death sentence.


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  1. Is death the worst penalty one could mete out on a criminal? Nobody knows what death is like, only maybe what near-death feels like… a terrorizing fear of the unknown.

    Wouldn’t it be more cruel to imprison a criminal for life in a rat and cockroach infested, crowded, stinky, warm and moist disgusting cell with no sight of freedom ever?

    If I were a criminal, I’d rather die a quick death then, it would be a much better option.

  2. How about the killings of innocent people by ruthless criminals, will it accelerate Filipinos human development!?

  3. The 58 countries with death penalties have one thing in common.- High illiteracy rate. Philippines have a 50% illiterate population. This 50% will be deterred from commiting heinous crimes with a death penalty. That is the only lesson that they will understand. We cannot be compared to the other countries whose population are educated like the USA. Try educating the population as a priority. That is also the reason why the death penalty is usually suffered by the poor. They did not realize the consequences of their acts. The rich are educated, so few of them commit heinuous crimes unless they are psychos.

  4. kelan lumaki ang volume ng karumal dumal na mga krimen, noong may death penalty o after na inalis ito? alam nyo naman talaga ang sagot. wag na tayo mag argue tungkol sa mga human development aspect na yan, di tayo saklaw nyan dahil mga pinoy kakaibang uri ng nilalang, tao nga crab naman ang asal. talangka development mas angkop na tawag.

  5. Sir!
    Concerning death penalty there is only one question I would like to get a reasonable answer from those guys who like to restore it:
    Why should in times of peace be allowed what is forbidden in times of war – killing prisoners?
    Yours sincerely
    Heiko Eckard

  6. I strongly disagree with your statement that “…execution does not deter criminality …”. Executing convicted violent criminals will deter potential criminality IF it is carried out often in the beginning. As soon as criminals see that the government is serious is eliminating them, it will make them think numerous times (if they want to be the next one to killed) BEFORE committing any crimes.

  7. VATICAN CITY — The Roman Catholic Church will allow priests throughout the world to grant absolution for abortion, the Vatican said on Monday, making permanent a policy that Pope Francis announced a year ago.

    In a document marking the conclusion of the church’s yearlong Jubilee of Mercy, the pope extended a policy of allowing priests — and not only bishops or special confessors — to grant forgiveness for abortion, which the church considers a sin. The announcement was a signal of the pope’s vision of a more welcoming, merciful and inclusive church.

    While firmly restating his opposition to abortion as “a grave sin, since it puts an end to an innocent life,” the pope affirmed that “there is no sin that God’s mercy cannot reach and wipe away when it finds a repentant heart seeking to be reconciled with the Father.” The document, an apostolic letter, was signed on Sunday after a Mass denoting the end of the jubilee year. It was made public on Monday.

    The New York Times. NOV. 21, 2016

    Abortion kills innocent lives. It violates the unborn child’s “human rights and dignity,” the very premise that any advocate of human rights is invoking against the death penalty, yet now deemed forgivable and allowable by the Pope himself. What gall has the author to show to the world that as the Holy See approves one form of murder, A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N, why is death penalty, a punishment or retribution for criminals who are grave threats to human life, any different? To be concerned with the value of human life is one thing; to play hypocrite is another.

    • You are clueless. Forgiveness of sins in the sacrament of reconciliation involves the private realm of the confessional. The seal of secrecy cannot be broken for whatever reason. The faculty to forgive is extended by the Pope who holds the office of the “Vicar of Christ”. Matthew 16:19 — the keys of the kingdom: whatever the vicar binds on earth will be bound in heaven; whatever the vicar loosens on earth will be loosened in heaven. This has nothing at all to do with “approval” of ANY SIN. One should NEVER EVER presume to commit sin just because the sin can be forgiven; this is called PRESUMPTION. The sin of presumption obviously makes a sinner’s contrition questionable and will make the confession an act of hypocrisy on the part of the person who is confessing.