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Death penalty referendum needed – Palace

The incoming Duterte administration must conduct a thorough study and a referendum before restoring death penalty in the country, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. made the statement after Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas hinted of possible international sanctions against the country if death penalty is re-imposed.

“The Secretary of Justice is affirming that the country has existing commitments to the United Nations and that reinstituting the death penalty is a vital policy change that needs to be thoroughly studied by the incoming administration and the 17th Congress,” Coloma said.

“The people’s voice needs to be heard, too, to ascertain whether indeed the majority would like to see this come to pass,” he added.

President-elect Rodrigo Duterte has pushed for the revival of death penalty in the country as part of his strong campaign against criminality in the country. The tough-talking Davao City mayor also prefers the capital punishment will be carried out by hanging instead of lethal injection.

Many human rights advocates have opposed the return of death penalty in the country, believing it does not deter crimes.

The country’s justice chief, however, reminded Duterte about the country’s international commitments on the protection of civil rights.

The Philippines is among the signatories of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that aims to abolish death penalty. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)