Sotto bill seeks death penalty revival

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MANILA (Updated) -- Senator Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday filed Senate Bill 2080, a measure seeking the revival of Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law.

The law allows use of lethal injection for judicial executions.

"The indiscriminate and horrendous brutality happening everywhere rightfully and justifiably compels the government to resort to the ultimate criminal penalty provided for by no less than our Constitution- the death penalty," Sotto said in the bill's explanatory note.

The senator noted that life imprisonment, the highest penalty carried out today, is a non-deterrent against criminality.

Under the measure, death penalty will be imposed for heinous crimes specified under Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty law, and all other laws, executive orders and decrees imposing death penalty.

"The imposed penalty of death shall be carried out through lethal injection. Republic Act 8177 otherwise known as the Act Designating Death by Lethal Injection is thus hereby revived and activated," the bill stated.

Former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada earlier expressed support on the revival of the death penalty after the arrest of the suspect in a rape-slay of a six-year-old girl in Manila.

During his term as President from 1998 to 2001, the Estrada administration has convicted seven criminals by lethal injection.

However, a moratorium was declared in 2001 during the celebration of the Christian Jubilee Year until Estrada was ousted in January 2001 through Edsa 2 People Power revolution.

Convicted child rapist Leo Echegaray was the first Filipino to be executed using the lethal injection in 1999.

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, for his part, expressed his opposition to revival of the death penalty, as he called for a review of the implementation of existing laws against criminalities and strengthening of law enforcement institutions.

An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference (CBCP) said last week that death penalty has proven to be an ineffective deterrent of crime.

Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP–Episcopal Commission on Family and Life, said that the Church supports restorative justice.

"A life lost due to crime cannot be restored by ending the life of a criminal," he said.

The death penalty was restored in 1993 under the administration of former President Fidel Ramos but it was permanently suspended in 2006 during the leadership of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (With FP/Sunnex)

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