Press Release
July 26, 2019

De Lima on Duterte's preference for death by hanging: Barbaric, inhumane!

Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has strongly denounced Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo's claim that Mr. Duterte prefers death by hanging to lessen expenses amid the administration's aggressive push to revive the death penalty.

"This statement only shows how barbaric and inhumane this government is. Nasa dugo na talaga nila ang pagiging sadista, malupit at marahas," said De Lima, who has consistently opposed capital punishment way back when she was human rights head.

De Lima made the admonition after Mr. Panelo said that Duterte favors death by hanging so as to lessen expenses. "Kung tatanungin mo siya, walang gastos eh ano na lang, lubid," Panelo was quoted as saying.

During his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22, Mr. Duterte reiterated his call on Senate and House leaders to pass a law re-instating death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder.

De Lima, however, stressed in her commentary on Duterte's SONA entitled "No Fight Left Inside Duterte" that restoring the death penalty for heinous crimes would not deter the commission of crime but instead would only affect poor Filipinos.

"The simplistic equation that death penalty will result in greater crime deterrence reflects an elitist, anti-poor and misdirected mindset," said De Lima, a human rights and social justice champion.

According to the lady Senator from Bicol, the country's deeply flawed administration of criminal justice system is prone to errors as it could result in wrongful guilty verdicts that might affect poor Filipinos who do not have the capacity to defend themselves in court.

When she was justice secretary, De Lima, as official representative of then-President Benigno S. Aquino III, delivered the Chief Executive's message before 1,500 participants of the Fifth World Congress Against Death Penalty in Madrid, Spain.

"Besides our ideological opposition to the imposition of death as a state-imposed penalty for crimes, we also have a very real, very practical and very urgent reason for working towards its universal abolition: our concern for the safety and protection of the lives of our people," De Lima told delegates during the panel discussion.

De Lima also actively campaigned against the revival of the death penalty during her stint as chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights.

This 18th Congress, De Lima has offered an alternative to death penalty when she filed Senate Bill No. 187, which seeks to impose qualified reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment on extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder.

If enacted into law, De Lima's measure will impose qualified reclusion perpetua without parole on persons found guilty of treason, piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.

In addition to qualified reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of 50 years with no possibility of parole, those guilty of extraordinary heinous crimes will be fined PhP5 million under the measure.

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