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Pro-life solon warns vs death penalty

While he is fully supportive of the incoming Duterte administration’s all-out war against crime, a pro-life lawmaker warned yesterday his colleagues against breathing life into death penalty, saying that it will not solve the lingering problem of criminality.

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said Congress should not be in a “mad rush” to push for the reimposition of capital punishment. “We want our new President to succeed in the war on crime. He deserves everybody’s help in rooting out corruption in law enforcement, the prosecution service, the Judiciary, and corrections,” Atienza, a former three-term mayor of Manila, said in a statement. But he said reviving the death penalty will not ensure that crimes will be stopped. “That killing convicts will somehow lessen crime is a false premise. On the contrary, executions will only engender a culture of violence that will in turn breed even more brutal crimes,” Atienza said.

“We maintain that the certainty of the swift capture and punishment of felons is our best deterrence to crime,” he said.

Duterte had earlier wanted Congress to approve a new law reinstating the death penalty, preferably by hanging, for drug offenses and other grave crimes, by the end of this year.

Atienza stressed that maximum sentence of life imprisonment is more than enough to address the rising incidence of criminality, citing that 102 countries have already eliminated the death penalty from their criminal laws. “In the years ahead, we envision a highly progressive and humane republic firmly grounded on a culture of life – on respect for the sanctity of human life. We are not dreaming of a backward and callous nation anchored on a medieval culture of death,” he said.

Atienza noted that aside from the 102 nations that scrapped the death penalty, another 38 countries have not carried out any executions in the last 10 years, even if the extreme punishment is still in their statutes. (Charissa M. Luci)