Death penalty is an area under discussion that has become a very vast dispute even before. Centuries ago death penalty is something that was run through in almost all cultures. This vengeance sort of action was the only approach in old polity felt that could really prevent criminals from committing crime. Until such time death penalty was totally abolished.
Death penalty as defined is a penalty for crimes that are heinous for being grievous, odious and hateful offenses and which, by reason of their inherent or manifest wickedness, viciousness, atrocity and perversity are repugnant and outrageous to the common standards and norms of decency and morality in a just, civilized and ordered society. (RA 7659) Heinous crimes refer to those crimes which are inhuman and merciless transgression. Such endeavor prejudices our own justice therefore death penalty must be reinstated and accepted.
Crimes in our country are committed either intentional or unintentionally and of course are unwanted. Our country consequently has not only the right but the duty to act in self defense to protect the innocent. If we insist on abolishing death penalty, it’s like we are just giving these criminal a power to commit such acts. Death penalty, death sentence, or execution is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime. It is also known as capital punishment while the crimes punished by death sentence are called capital crimes.
These crimes vary depending on the laws of the State instituting the death penalty. In the Philippines, these include treason, piracy in general and mutiny in high seas, qualified bribery, parricide, infanticide, murder, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder, and prohibited, regulated, illegal drugs related cases (Republic Act 7659). As to the antiquity of death penalty, the first established death penalty laws dated as far back as the Eighteenth Century B. C. in the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon (www.
Death penalty information center/DIPC. com). The death penalty was also part of the Fourteenth Century B. C. ’s Hittite Code; in the Seventh Century B. C. ’s Draconian Code of Athens, which made death the only punishment for all crimes; and in the Fifth Century B. C. ’s Roman Law of Twelve Tablets. Death Sentences were carried out by such means as crucifixion, drowning, beating to death, burning alive, and impalement (Ibid). Differently, if death penalty is prevalent in other countries with regard to its past events, the imposition of death penalty in the Philippines had also a repressive history.
For the most part (from 1848 to 1987), it was used to curtail the liberties, freedoms and rights of the Filipino people. In recent history, however, the death penalty was reemployed as a knee-jerk response to what has largely been seen as rising criminality in the country. During the Spanish Period (1521-1898), the Spanish colonizers brought with them medieval Europe’s penal system in which such penalties or punishments includes executions or killing somebody as part of their legal or extralegal process.
The capital punishment took various forms including burning, decapitation, and drowning, flaying, garrote, hanging, shooting, and stabbing among others. It was enshrined in the 1848 Spanish Codigo Penal and was imposed on locals who challenged the established authority of the colonizers. Between the year 1840 – 1857, recorded death sentences totaled 1, 703 with 46 actual executions. Filipinos who were meted with death penalty include the native clergies Gomez, Burgos and Zamora who were garroted in 1872 and Dr.
Jose Rizal executed on December 30, 1896 (www. thepicj. blog. com). However, during the American period from the year 1898-1934, the American colonizers adopted most of the provisions under the Codigo Penal of 1848, retaining the death penalty, which penalized the crime of treason, parricide, kidnapping, murder, rape and robbery with homicide with capital punishment. The Sedition Law (1901), Brigandage Act (1903), and Flag Law (1907) were enacted to sanction the use of force, including death, against all nationalistic Filipinos.
MacarioSakay was one of those sentenced to die for leading a resistance group. He was sentenced to die by public hanging. The capital punishment continued to be an integral part of the pacification process of the country, suppress any resistance to American authority (Ibid). As part of the bygone of death penalty in the Philippines, distinct head of the state which grasp such government had also pragmatically rub on the imposition of death penalty. In President Marcos’ Administration, it justified the imposition of death penalty by reason of deterrence.
Some crimes were made punishable by death through laws and decrees including subversion, possession of firearms, arson, hijacking, embezzlement, drug related offenses, unlawful possession of firearms, illegal fishing and cattle rustling. Among the celebrated execution were the convictions of Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda, and Edgardo Aquino for the gang rape of movie star Maggie dela Riva in 1972(Pp vs Jaime Jose, Basilio Pineda and Edgardo Aquino, G. R. No. L- 28232) . Most of death sentences were imposed to quell rebellion and social unrest (www. hepicj. blog. com). Forethought in the Corazon Aquino’s Administration, death penalty was abolished in, under the 1987 Constitution, and the Philippines become the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. The death sentences were reduced to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment (Ibid). In Fidel V. Ramos government, series of high profile crimes created a public impression that heinous crimes were on the rise, thus Ramos’ administration reemployed the death penalty by virtue of Republic Act 7659 in December 1993.
Republic Act 8177 mandates that death sentence shall be carried out through lethal injection. In the course of the presidency of Joseph Ejercito Estrada, Leo Echagaray (Pp vs Leo Echagaray, GR No. 117472) was executed in February 1999 followed by six other executions, while in 1999, the bumper year for executions, the national crime volume, instead of abating, ironically increased by 15. 3% (Ibid). The lady president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, publicly declared her opposition on execution but later on announced that she would resume the capital punishment “to sow fear into the hearts of the criminals. She lifted the moratorium issued by her predecessor but ever since she lifted the moratorium there is no actual execution that took place (Ibid). In the present Administration of Benigno Aquino III, he said that he is open to studying the idea of bringing back capital punishment to scare off perpetrators of heinous crimes. But he brushed off his immediate approval by commenting that a justice system “that was not perfect” could end up deciding to execute a convicted but otherwise innocent person. Therefore, for President Aquino is still a divide issue in his administration.
Not counting to the discrete administrations who indulged in implementing death penalty, particular religious sects are sympathetic to the imposition of death penalty. To mention one of those sects is the Assemblies of God. The Philippine Assemblies of God was organized in 1953 and has grown to be the largest evangelical group with 4000 local churches. The Assemblies of God Missionary Fellowship is a fellowship of AGWM Missionaries and Missionary Associates, working in the Philippines partnership with the Philippine General Council of the Assemblies of God (PGCAG) (www. cag. com/ official website). People associated with the Assemblies of God probably favor capital punishment for certain types of crimes such as premeditated murder than those who would oppose capital punishment without reservation. As more and more heinous crimes are reported by the media, public sentiment shifts toward capital punishment as a means of reversing the escalating violence and outrageous behavior of criminals and irresponsible citizens (Ibid). Another religion who supported such death penalty is the Protestants.
Conservative Protestants tend to be pro life and opposed to abortion access yet they generally favor capital punishment, which involves the taking of life. They generally defend their position by pointing out that they are opposed to the taking of innocent human life like an embryo, fetus, newborn child, etc. but a person neither sitting on death row nor awaiting for execution is not innocent since they have been found guilty of a heinous crime (Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance). 71 percent of the Protestants favored death penalty (www. ipc. com). One more religion who holds up to death penalty is the Islam. Islam accords of imposing death penalty in two cases. The first case is murder, and the second case applies to crimes committed against the community (http:// islamnewroom. com). Based on the foregoing opinions, we deduced that there are religions that supported death penalty. Death penalty in the Philippines encompasses certain cases. A total of seven convicts were executed during the administration of Pres. Joseph Ejercito Estrada by reason of death penalty.
The first was held on February 5, 1999 when Leo Echagaray was executed by lethal injection for statutory rape (Pp vs Leo Echagaray Y Pilo, GR No. 117472). The facts of the case were, Leo Echagaray was a drug user who raped his ten-year old step-daughter for several times before being convicted. There is no certainty that the law on capital punishment will not be repealed or modified until Congress convenes and considers all the various resolutions and bills filed before it. He was executed on February 1999. Next was held on June 25, 1999, Eduardo Agbayani (Pp vs. Eduardo Agayani G. R. No. 118140).
As to the facts of the said case, he raped his own 17 years old daughter in their rented apartment. He also had previously raped his other two daughters even though he was not prosecuted for the said acts. He was followed by Dante Piandiong, Jesus Morallos, and Archie Bulan for robbery with homicide on July 8, 1999 (Pp vs. DANTE PIANDIONG Y CALDA, JESUS MORALLOS Y CALDA, ARCHIE BULAN Y AMPULAN, and TWO (2) JOHN DOES G. R. No. 118140). The facts of the case were: The wheels of tragic fate began to turn at around 10 o’ clock on the evening of February 21, 1994, when Percival Catindig, PO1 Gerry Perez, Leonisa S.
Bacay, and Rowena Reyboneria boarded a passenger jeepney on their way home. After the vehicle had travelled less than a kilometer, another group of five persons, boarded the same jeepney and not long after announced a hold-up, and thereupon divested the passengers of their valuables, and shot and killed PO1 Gerry Perez. The accused were sentenced GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of ROBBERY WITH HOMICIDE and sentences each of them to suffer the maximum penalty of DEATH. The fifth convict who was sentenced and executed by death penalty was Pablito Andan.
The case was about Andan who willfully, unlawfully and feloniously raped and killed said Marianne Guevarra. After he satisfied his lust he attacked, assaulted and hit said victim with concrete hollow blocks in her face in different parts of her body, thereby inflicting upon her mortal wounds which directly caused her death. The ruling was, Andan was sentenced with death penalty (Pp vs Pablito Andan G. R. No. 116437). The last one was Alex Bartolome in which he followed the same faith. The facts of the case were: Bartolome raped his own daughter who is a 16 year old minor in their own home.
He raped her for a number of times with an interval of two days after the first act even if during that time she was pregnant and on her full term. The court pronounces accused guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of rape of his own daughter, Elena Bartolome, and so hereby imposes upon him the supreme penalty of death. Subsequently, after those remarkable cases cited, death penalty was abolished. The 1987 Constitution, as well as the other preceding constitutions, has long upheld the value of human life and the dignity of the human person.
In the Bill of Rights, Article III, Section 1, it is stated that: No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws. Moreover, in Article XIII, Section 1, Congress has been delegated the power and has been given the mandate “to give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequalities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good. However, the same fundamental law provides the Congress power to decide, enact, and impose capital punishment “for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes. ” In the years following the repeal of Republic Act No. 7659, otherwise known as the Death Penalty Act, after Republic Act 9346, an act abolishing death penalty has been implimented, a number of gruesome and violent crimes have already taken place in the Philippines especially in recent years. In the year 2009, the Ampatuans of Maguindanao were accused of killing more than 20 journalists and lawyers, most of which were women.
A hostage drama was also witnessed all over the world here in the Philippines in 2010 when Rolando Mendoza took captive 25 Hong Kong tourists which ended into a brutal exchange of fire, killing nine, including the hostage taker himself. Adding to the number of heinous crimes would be numerous rape cases– of daughters being raped and molested by their own fathers, and of children who have been stripped off of their innocence by pedophiles, among others. Cases regarding drug trafficking has also become rampant in the Philippines.
It is then enough to believe, judging by the heinous crimes committed during the repeal of the Death Penalty Law up until now, for reasons of “justice, public order, and rule of law,” that it is time the Death Penalty Law be revived. Some explanations may embrace why death penalty must be reinstated. Primarily, it will deter crime and incapacitates criminals. A long held belief in the imposition of the death penalty is its ability to deter the commission of crimes.
Although some opponents of the said view would argue that there has never been a conclusive statistical basis that the death penalty is a deterrent, the point in which this argument is directed is in the fact that death penalty becomes a deterrent only in so far as the criminal committing a heinous crime, who is meted a death penalty sentence, is not able to repeat the same crime anymore. In other words, heinous crimes are deterred from happening again because the person or persons committing the said crime have already been sentenced to death.
Criminals who commit heinous crimes should be given the capital punishment because the State should look after the welfare of its constituents and to the effects of the grievous acts done by these perpetrators which directly affect the security and safety of the State itself. In the case Pp vs Leo Echagaray Y Pilo, GR No. 117472, where the latter has been proven beyond reasonable doubt to have raped his daughter, the Supreme Court ruled that the accused be given the penalty of death.
In its decision en banc, the Supreme Court rationalized its sentence as follows: …the death penalty is imposed in heinous crimes because the perpetrators thereof have committed unforgivably execrable acts that have so deeply dehumanized a person or criminal acts with severely destructive effects on the national efforts to lift the masses from abject poverty through organized governmental strategies based on a disciplined and honest citizenry, and because they have so caused irreparable and substantial injury to both their victim and the society and a repetition of their acts would pose actual threat to the safety of individuals and the survival of government, they must be permanently prevented from doing so. It is also worthy of discussion that even though deterrence is always sought to justify the act of imposing the death penalty, the Constitution does not actually qualify nor require a certain circumstance to be attendant in its imposition (www. dpci. com). Article III, Section 19 (1) of the 1987 Constitution simply states that the Congress, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, may impose the death penalty.
It neither qualifies that for a death penalty bill to be valid, a higher incidence of crime should be perceived first and proven statistically as a fact nor does the said provision require that, having been unable to suppress lawlessness and criminality in society, the death penalty be resorted to as a last option. In addition, if such requirement that there must be a rise in criminal rate following the suspension of the death penalty is observed, it becomes an “unfair and misplaced demand” because the death penalty would need to prove its efficacy first to be a deterrent.
It is sufficient then that “the Congress, in the interest of justice, public order and rule of law, and the need to rationalize and harmonize the penal sanctions for heinous crimes” should impose the death penalty. Death penalty advocates argue that the execution of convicted murderers deter others from committing murder for fear that they will also be executed, and also that murderers will be incapacitated: once dead, they will have no opportunity to commit additional murders.
Death penalty opponents dispute the deterrent effect of capital punishment, arguing that few murderers rationally weigh the possibility that they might face the death penalty before committing a murder. Second, it provides for retributive justice. Retribution is an inherent aspect in the criminal justice system of every State. As Immanuel Kant has discussed in his Metaphysics of Morals 1995, once a community of people establishes a legal institution, what is carried in its establishment is also its capacity to maintain its very existence.
In order to maintain its existence, that legal institution is given power, one of which is through its ability to impose laws. Further, in order to fulfill its law-giving mandate, there also exists a mechanism which sees to it that that mandate can be enforceable over its constituents, hence the idea of punishment. Punishment, in this sense then, is indispensable. Kant states: “Judicial punishment can never be used merely as a means to promote some other good for the criminal himself or for civil society, but instead it must in all cases be imposed on him only on the ground that he has committed a crime. The legal principle of lextalionis is the moving force behind retributive justice–an eye for an eye, in its literal sense. Retributive justice answers the wrong done by an offender to his or her victim by responding to the same in a proportionate, if not equal, and like manner. This is so because when an offender breaks the law, he or she, in effect, forfeits or suspends his or her right to something of equal value, and justice requires that this forfeit be enacted—in which case, a penalty commensurate to that of the heinous crime committed.
Crimes which are heinous in nature deserve the capital punishment because they violate the very essence of humanity. Heinous criminals are given the penalty of death because the crimes they have committed deserve the proportional, if not exactly the same, punishment of their actions. Finally, it is cost effective. Death penalty is more economical than life imprisonment. As Edwin H. Sutherland, PhD, late President of the American Sociological Society, and Donald R.
Cressey, PhD, late Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in their book titled Criminology (1974), wrote: “It is not cheaper to keep a criminal confined, because most of the time he will appeal just as much causing as many costs as a convict under death sentence. Being alive and having nothing better to do, he will spend his time in prison conceiving of ever-new habeas corpus petitions, which being unlimited, in effect cannot be rejected as res judicata. The cost is higher. “