Karapatan opposes death penalty bill in Congress
Karapatan said that, under such a system, the death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“The death penalty will also significantly impact on human rights defenders, activists and political dissenters, when the executive branch, Congress, military, police, prosecutors and courts collude to criminalize the exercise of political beliefs and political actions that seek to institute meaningful and comprehensive reforms and change,” Palabay stated.
Almost all political prisoners, she said, are charged with trumped up criminal offenses such as murder, destructive arson, kidnapping, carnapping, and recently, drug-related charges, to hide the political nature of their arrest and detention and to stigmatize them as ‘criminals’ to the public. According to Karapatan documentation, at least 249 out of the 392 political prisoners were slapped with fabricated murder cases and are arrested and detained through John/Jane Doe and alias warrants, the spurious filing of cases with defective warrants and perjured testimonies of hired witnesses by the military and common practice of planting of evidence.
“With this measure, there is danger that political prisoners will be dealt with capital punishment, when they should be released on just grounds,” Palabay explained.
“Justice in this kind of system remains elusive to the victims and families of crimes and human rights abuses, as long as the laws and the agencies and institutions who implement and interpret laws are corrupt and lawless themselves,” she said.
“Death penalty in a bankrupt criminal justice system will not curb nor eliminate crimes in the country. Only when the underlying causes of crime are dealt with significant and comprehensive social, economic, and political reforms that uphold people’s rights and welfare can crimes be reduced or eliminated,” ended Palabay.