February 7, 2017
DEATH PENALTY AGAINST DRUG TRAFFICKERS WILL NOT END THE DRUG PROBLEM
A senator opposed to the reimposition of the death penalty said that capital punishment will not solve the country's drug problem.
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said that countries which imposed the death penalty even on high-level drug traffickers did not curb illegal drug trafficking. The Senator cited the example of Iran where the authorities have admitted the death penalty doesn't work, even after executing thousands of drug traffickers.
"According to the report by the Amnesty International, thousands of people have been executed for drug offenses since 1959 in Iran. In 2015, Iran had 829 executions, 571 for drug-related offenses. However, the Iranian government itself admitted that the death penalty has failed to reduce drug trafficking in the country," Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also cited the experiences of Hong Kong and Singapore which have identical murder rates, despite the former abolishing the death pen in 1993 and the latter mandatorily imposing the death pen for murder & other crimes.
Hontiveros said that the death penalty is a dangerous shortcut. She also said that it is irreversible and irreparable.
The Senator asserted that what is needed are reforms in the country's justice system and a rules-based and modern drug law enforcement strategy targeting big-time drug syndicates. She said that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) must take the lead, with the Philippine National Police (PNP) taking a coordinative role in the conduct of anti-drug operations.
"The government must bring the campaign versus the drug lords and not to the poor. Side by side with a public health approach to the drug problem, our drug law enforcement strategy must shift focus to organized drug syndicates. We must focus on crimes associated with big drug operations, such as money laundering and extortion. We must also strengthen border control in international airports and seaports, and heighten operations against cross-country narco trafficking," Hontiveros explained.
On Monday, Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 1313 otherwise known as "the Barangay Health and Rehabilitation Strategy Act of 2017" to replace the government's corrupt and abusive anti-drug campaign with an "alternative health and law enforcement strategy" to address the country's drug problem.
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