The College Editors Guild of the Philippines condemns the approval of the death penalty bill on its final reading with 216 yes, 55 no and 1 abstain. Its approval only signals the strengthening of the state’s calibrated attacks on the people.
“The reimposition of death penalty will fortify the state’s attack on the people. This desperate attempt of the Duterte regime to revive capital punishment is aimed at glossing the President’s reloaded Oplan Double Barrel and the spate of political killings in our country,” said Jose Mari Callueng, CEGP national president.
Callueng added that Duterte, as commander in chief, should be accountable for the spate of killings because he brazenly continues the culture of impunity in his regime which earlier promised that “change is coming.”
“Death penalty is never an effective measure to eliminate crimes, instead it only provides a greater weight to impunity and invites legal killings of the military and police.”
CEGP also argued that under a defective justice system, killings will be used to silence the critics of the government, mostly activists, human rights advocates and defenders and even journalists.
“It is noteworthy that in the past, if not murdered, trumped-up charges are slapped against critics to censor, intimidate and silence them until they abandon their dissent. Many political prisoners are languishing in jails due to multiple baseless criminal offenses filed against them by instrumentalities of the state,” said Callueng.
According to Callueng, the approval of the death penalty bill is another machinery of the state to launch an all-out-war against the people and that it will be used to protect the ruling elite.
“The death penalty will be used by the ruling elite to protect their interest and security which will further enforce fascism in the Duterte regime,” he said.
He also likened the death penalty to war on drugs and the declaration of all-out-war, saying that this will legitimize killings and fear among the people.
“Like Duterte’s war on drugs, the death penalty will never eradicate crimes for until today the government fails to address the root causes of crime and poverty. More Filipinos will die especially the marginalized,” he said.
CEGP urged the Duterte government to, instead of imposing death penalty, resume the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Democratic Front of the Philippines which provides a platform to address the pressing issues faced by the country that pushes them to commit crimes.
“The death penalty has no place in a civilized society. Instead, the government should prioritize bills and laws addressing the root causes of crimes which are committed out of poverty,” he ended.