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Abolition of the Death Penalty is a Progressive and Humane Legislation

Rep. Edcel C. Lagman (LAKAS-KAMPI CMD, Albay), principal author of R.A. No. 9346 which abolished the death penalty on 24 January 2006, rejected calls for the re-imposition of the capital punishment.

“Knee-jerk reactions to the commission of a sensational crime do not justify the reversal of a progressive and humane legislation,” Lagman emphasized.

Lagman added that “it took the Philippines almost two decades, six Congresses and four Presidents to finally purge our penal statutes of the death penalty consistent with its abolition by the 1987 Constitution.”

Lamentably, there are again proponents for its re-imposition after three years and a half only.

Lagman also said that “the long crusade which was waged and anchored on empirical data, overriding reasons and worldwide advocacy should not be put to naught by misplaced calls for retribution and deterrence.”

It was President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s full support for the passage of the abolition measure that accelerated and assured the repeal of the death penalty.

In opposing the re-imposition of the supreme penalty, Lagman underscored the following:

1.    Modern and progressive penology is oriented toward rehabilitation and restorative justice, not punitive execution.

2.    Empirical studies, both local and international, have debunked the theory that the severity of the penalty deters the commission of heinous crimes.

3.    What forecloses the commission of a crime is the realization by the prospective offender of the swiftness of apprehension, speediness of prosecution and the certainty of conviction once warranted.

4.    The efficacious antidote to criminality is not the penalty but an efficient and honest police, prosecutorial and judicial system.