rep tom villarinThis representation from Akbayan casts a negative vote on House Bill No. 4727— a bill that seeks to revive capital punishment for drug-related offenses, and ultimately reeks of both rational and moral bankruptcy.

Make no mistake: The death penalty will not make our communities any safer. We reiterate that in the absence of any evidence that would prove death penalty as an effective deterrent to crime—heinous or otherwise—a person’s right to life must stand supreme.

No crime is worth killing for—especially when the task of condemning a fellow Filipino to death will be undertaken within the context of a flawed criminal justice system. Flawed—from enforcement, prosecution, and adjudication—because none other than the Supreme Court revealed in a review of cases from 1993-2004 that 646 Filipinos could have been wrongfully executed due to erroneous decisions rendered in our lower courts. Fast forward more than a decade after, we all found ourselves at the mercy of a law enforcement agency that is “corrupt to the core,” as President Duterte admitted, only after a foreign businessman was brutally murdered by the very people who swore to serve and protect us. These are the people who will execute this policy, and our fellow Filipinos.

As such, some words of caution: Expect that many of those to be condemned to certain death are the poor precisely because they do not have access to quality legal services, unlike the rich and powerful, who are running the country’s criminal organizations. Expect repercussions from the community of nations as we go against the trend for abolition, and insist on breaking agreements forged by our words of honor. In forcibly passing this bill, we risk losing more than USD1.6 billion in trade yearly, and 200,000 jobs that came with our solemn vow of abolishing the death penalty and protecting the value of human life. Expect future generations to thrive in an environment of violence, impunity, and retribution, as we move closer towards igniting a vicious cycle of vengeance instead of justice.

But as far as Akbayan is concerned—together those who bravely stood for true justice—we will not let this happen. Expect us to continue the fight, if only to save even an innocent life from suffering a gruesome death.

For these reasons, this representation proudly votes AGAINST the death penalty.  ###