Negros youth urge lawmakers to oppose death penalty

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BACOLOD CITY: The Youth of Bacolod against Death Penalty has urged lawmakers from the Negros Island Region (NIR) to oppose the reimposition of the death penalty and called on people, especially the youth in Negros, to join them in their crusade.

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In a statement sent to the media, the group said they “view it with a sense of urgency that House Bill 4727, which would reimpose the death penalty, is now on its second reading, thus, only a step away from becoming law. We have gathered as concerned citizens, did collective studies and research and, after much discernment, we are taking this stand against the death penalty, mainly on the ground that it is anti-poor and will not, as studies and history have shown, solve the worsening peace and order problem as its proponents claim it can.”

The group cited statistics from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Statistics Authority that show that before the death penalty was reimposed during the term of then-President Joseph Estrada, crime rates were dropping from 1987 to 1993.

In 1999, after a record number of executions, there was no drop in the number of crimes.
Ironically, it even rose by 8.8 percent from 1999 to 2002.

The group cited a 2004 study of the Free Legal Assistance Group where eight out of 10 death row convicts did not reach college, and six out of 10 of those were minimum wage earners.

”This basically illustrates the fact that the death penalty is anti-poor. The Supreme Court had also pointed out that there were wrongful impositions of the death penalty from 1993 to 2004,” it said.

House Deputy Speaker and Capiz Second District Rep. Fredenil Castro sponsored House Bill 4727 seeking to impose capital punishment for more than 20 heinous crimes such as rape with homicide, kidnapping for ransom and arson with death.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Bacolod reiterated its opposition to the reimposition of the death penalty and instead urged lawmakers to improve the criminal justice system instead of reinstating capital punishment.

An editorial in its official publication Adsum, partly said, “The restoration of the death penalty will only result in the innocent being victimized and the convicted deprived of a second chance at a better and upright life.”

The diocese cited an example where an inmate at the Bacolod City jail was recently acquitted after sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.

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