Students slam passage of death penalty bill


SEVERAL student groups from the University of the Philippines (UP)-Diliman condemned the passage last week of House Bill (HB) 4727 which seeks to restore the imposition of the death penalty.

The House of Representatives passed the controversial measure on second reading by voice voting.

In a joint statement, UP Alyansa, UP Economics Towards Consciousness, UP Diliman Akbayan Youth, and Buklod CSSP said the House proceedings leading to the passage of HB 4727 “were nothing but a bullying act done by the supermajority to the overpowered minority.”

“[W]e finally see the irony that corrupts our legislative institutions. The very institutions expected to uphold the value of debate are the ones suppressing it,” they said.

The groups said the voting process adopted by the House is “[evidence]of a flawed and biased system” where the rules were “made to work in favor of the majority’s preferred end” on the bill.

“There was explicitly no premium put for in-depth discussions [of the bill]. Instead, what transpired was a staged act with an ending already set,” the groups said.

On the other hand, they lauded lawmakers who voted against the bill and who “continue to fight” against the reinstatement of capital punishment and the “perpetuation of human rights violations.”

“The death penalty does not kill crimes, it only ends lives,” the groups noted.

In a separate statement, UP Alliance for Responsive Involvement and Student Empowerment (Arise) cited figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) which showed that more crimes “were committed” when the death penalty was in effect.

The study also contradicts the claim of an increase in criminality following the suspension of the imposition of the death penalty in 2006.

“The lack of correlation between criminality and the implementation of capital punishment even becomes stronger when global statistics are considered,” the group said.

“To implement death penalty without scientific or statistical data to prove its effectiveness is nothing but a disservice to the Filipino people,” it added.

Aside from the PSA survey, the group also cited a Supreme Court report that disclosed that a 71.77 percent judicial error rate was observed in the imposition of the death penalty.

“This corresponds to 651 out of the 907 convicted individuals in the death row being saved from lethal injection,” it noted.

“We value human life as much as we value the right of every person to live. The risk of executing innocent people is high in this kind of justice system,” group said.

HB4727 is set for third and final reading on Tuesday. The House plenary is expected to adopt nominal voting where each lawmaker will be called one by one to cast and explain their votes.


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