The kidnapping of a businessman and his girlfriend in Pasay City by four police officers and the discovery of a tokhang-for-ransom dungeon run by drug enforcement agents in Manila should serve as a wakeup call for Congress to abandon the revival of the death penalty amid rambling law enforcement corruption, House senior deputy minority leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said on Sunday.
“Right now, we are already witness to the unbridled abuse of police powers by rotten officers. The problem is bound to get worse once we have the death penalty,” Atienza warned.
He said crooked officers engaged in all sorts of criminal activities would have a heyday if capital punishment is reinstated.
“They will use the mere threat of death sentences to get whatever they want from their targets – from their victims,” the former Manila mayor said.
“Violent crime is thriving not because of the absence of the death penalty, but because law enforcement has been overwhelmed by corruption,” Atienza said.
He noted that many police officers are involved in all sorts of crime such as drug trafficking, extortion and protection rackets, kidnapping-for-ransom, robbery, murder-for-hire, illegal gambling and prostitution.
The lawmaker called for “comprehensive reforms in the entire criminal justice system, from law enforcement to corrections.”
“The death penalty won’t address rampant crime. On the contrary, it is guaranteed to spur more crime, particularly those perpetrated by hooligans in uniform,” Atienza said.
The House of Representatives on March 7 approved on final reading the bill that would impose death sentences on drug-related offenses.
Atienza was among those who opposed the bill.