Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.  INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
EVEN IF the death penalty were restored by Congress, it would take five years before an actual hanging of convicts could take place, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said in a statement on Sunday.
Atienza said this would be “simply due to lack of material time,” proposing instead that Congress focus on pushing for criminal justice system reforms “to dissuade would-be offenders.”
“Based on our reckoning, even assuming the Congress railroads the revival of the death penalty so that it would take effect by early 2017, the initial convicts with final verdicts would start coming in only by the first half of 2022, or toward the last six months of the President’s term,” Atienza said.
Best case
“Five years of waiting is actually a best case scenario that does not include such factors as potential lawsuits questioning before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of judicial executions by hanging,” he added.
With this timeline, President Duterte himself would not be able to see any judicial killings carried out while he is in office.
Atienza proposed that Congress instead concentrate on improving the criminal justice system, such as by stamping out corruption in law enforcement, the prosecution service, the courts and prisons.
Seven convicts
Atienza said the seven convicts put to death through lethal injection during President Joseph Estrada’s term were executed five years after they committed their crimes.
Records showed that none of them were executed for drug-related crimes.
The executed—Leo Echegaray, Eduardo Agbayani, Dante Piandiong, Archie Bulan, Jesus Morallos, Pablito Andan and Alex Bartolome—were either convicted for rape or robbery with homicide.
There is widespread protest against the death penalty primarily because of questions of the country’s judicial maturity. The law was abolished during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Anticriminality drive
President Duterte, ran and won on an anticriminality campaign.
He vowed death to criminals, especially those engaged in illegal drugs.
The President said death for criminals was not to deter crime but in “retribution.”
“Let us forget about reinstating capital punishment. The best criminologists around the world have long established that the death penalty does not serve any purpose that is not already being served by lifelong imprisonment,” Atienza said.

Source: Inquirer

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