The restoration of the death penalty is a waste of time and the Senate should just throw the death penalty bill out, according to House Senior Deputy Minority leader and Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.
“The method of execution is bound to ruin the death penalty,” Atienza said in a statement on Saturday.
Voting 127-54 on Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed the bill on final reading.
The methods of execution provided under the proposed measure are hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.
But according to Atienza, the methods left are hanging by the neck or by fusillading because lethal injection drugs are no longer available.
“In fact, in America, in the few states that still subscribe to the death penalty, executions are now in total disarray due to the lack of sodium thiopental, the first of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections,” he said.
The lawmaker also said that several states in America with pending executions have tried to use alternative drugs, such as those used to euthanize horses, but were blocked by lawsuits.
“Assuming Malacañang puts pressure on the Senate, and the [death penalty]bill is finally enacted, we could see the first death row inmate running to the Supreme Court later on, and arguing that he or she could not possibly be executed by hanging or shooting, because these constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that is expressly banned by the Constitution,” Atienza added.
He said hanging and firing squad have never been tested against the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution, which forbids the imposition of excessive fines and the infliction of “cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment.”
“This is why the restoration of the death penalty is an utter waste of time. The Senate should just throw out the [death penalty]bill. The best criminologists have long established that executions do not serve any purpose that is not already being served by prolonged imprisonment,” Atienza said.
“We should just focus on suppressing crime by stamping out rampant corruption, which is really the problem besetting law enforcement, the prosecution service, the judiciary, and our prisons,” he said.
“We need wide-ranging criminal justice system reforms to ensure that every felon is apprehended, prosecuted, convicted and locked up. This is our best strategy to fight crime—to discourage other would-be offenders,” Atienza, a former three-term mayor of Manila, added.