Death Penalty in the Philippines
Death is not in anyone’s hands. Capital punishment or death penalty was given to a criminal deemed unfit to live by the state as a punishment for his heinous crimes. Death penalty was in effect since the beginning of the Spanish era, the Martial Law period, and Fidel Ramos and Estrada’s time in the country (A timeline of death penalty in the Philippines). Death penalty should not be implemented in the Philippines because the judicial system is faulty and it is contrary to the catholic teachings.
Death penalty should not be implemented in the Philippines because the judicial system is faulty. The judicial system in the Philippines is very slow, the due process of a case is not effective in the country because it takes too long to solve whereas most cases last for years before being processed. The delays prolong the criminal cases, which end in them going nowhere and not being solved. There are also too many errors in the system, these errors being having an inadequate lawyer represent the defendant, incomplete or lack of evidence, and unreliable witnesses. If capital punishment were in effect in the country, majority of the cases would result in wrongfully convicting innocent people. Authority, money, influence, and fraud could sway the judicial system in the Philippines. Due to the rich and powerful men influencing the decision of the case, it does not even matter if the accused is truly guilty of the crime or innocent because the end result will be based on their choice. The case would then be manipulated through forged evidence, false witnesses, or forced confessions. The judge would then have to incriminate the accused man for his alleged crime. This leads innocent people to die without having the chance of parole and their freedom (Wrongful Conviction in the Philippines).
The Republic Act No. 7659 states that a criminal who has been proven guilty to a heinous crime with proper due process of the law will be executed. This law will protect the defendant whether he is guilty or not to have the freedom to testify and prove his innocence. Careful deliberation is taken when determining a criminal’s case before imposing the death penalty. The decision of the Supreme Court cannot happen instantly because there are many factors to prove if the man is guilty and deserves death penalty.
The death penalty should not even be imposed in the country where the justice system is currently imperfect and biased. While it is true that the criminal cases take too long to be solved, it is not because the criminal cases are carefully being processed instead it is because there too many criminal cases that they just keep piling up without being resolved. This shows the inability for the criminal justice system to process criminal cases efficiently and effectively. Even President Aquino pronounced that no death penalty would be enforced until the justice system is perfected. Furthermore, majority of the defendants with death cases are not even well represented in their trials, making it unfair for them because there would be a greater chance that they would be given the death penalty if it were in effect. Even the Supreme Court admitted it had its share of miscarriages of justice when death penalty was in effect, the data released showed that there was a seventy-two percent wrong conviction rate (Wrongful Conviction in the Philippines).
Death penalty should not be implemented in the Philippines because it is contrary to catholic teachings. The Catholic Church is against capital punishment. Last year, even Pope Francis himself appealed to all Catholics to help abolish death penalty. The Catholic body is against capital punishment because it does not believe in taking away the human life. They are pro life because it is not in their hands that the offender must die but in God’s. Life imprisonment rather than capital punishment is found as a more sufficient solution to keep the criminal alive whilst not endangering the public’s safety (Archbishop Chaput).
Religion should not play a part in the affairs of the state. The Philippine Constitution Article II Section 6 states, “The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable.” The state and church are separate beings so their matters should not collide. It will only be a hindrance and make the case harder to be solved if the Catholic body involves themselves. Also in Catholic teachings, the Bible actually gave many examples on executing criminals for their crimes.
Not all the teachings in the Bible apply to the present age, particularly those on stoning or executing criminals as punishment are not agreed upon by the society today. In the New Testament, a woman who was accused of adultery was brought to Jesus and He said that only those without sin could stone her as punishment and in the end, every single person walked away (John 8:1-11). The Catholic body relies on God’s value on human life as important. Only God can decide whether a man should die or not and it is in His hands that the death will come not through capital punishment. Since the Philippines is a Catholic nation, the people would support the decision of the Catholic Church and what it believes in just like what happened in RH Bill.
No man deserves to die because of his crime; life imprisonment is a better option for a criminal to be punished. There are too many problems if capital punishment was in effect. Innocent people would die because the justice system does not carefully handle the case and they cannot defend themselves well. As a Catholic nation, it is not agreed upon today that death penalty gives justice. The Catholics believe that only the Lord can decide a man’s fate. Death penalty should not be imposed in the country since it against Catholic teachings the criminal justice system is faulty.
Chaput, C. (n.d.). JUSTICE, MERCY AND CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. Retrieved from
http://www.lpca.us/Chaput on death penalty.pdf
The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments with the
Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books : New Revised Standard Version. (1989).
New York: Oxford University Press.
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES – ARTICLE II
Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. (n.d.). Retrieved fromhttp://www.gov.ph/constitutions/the-1987-constitution-of-the-republic-of-the-
Republic Act No. 7659 | Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. (n.d.).
Retrieved from http://www.gov.ph/1993/12/13/republic-act-no-7659/
A timeline of death penalty in the Philippines. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Documentary on Wrongful Conviction in the Philippines to air on PBS | California
Innocence Project. (2012, October 3). Retrieved fromhttp://californiainnocenceproject.org/2012/10/documentary-on-wrongful-conviction-in-the-philippines-to-air-on-pbs/