Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has remained firm on her uncompromising opposition to the proposed restoration of death penalty, an advocacy that she has aggressively pushed since her time as human rights chairperson and justice secretary.
"My firm stand against death penalty remains as is. My vote is an absolute No to death penalty," said De Lima, a staunch advocate against the restoration of capital punishment.
De Lima reiterated her stand against death penalty after four of his colleagues in the Senate filed measures for its revival as a deterrent for crimes and punishment for heinous, including plunder, and drug-related cases.
During his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 22, Mr. Duterte called on the Senate and House leaders to pass and prioritize a law re-imposing death penalty on drug-related and heinous cases, including plunder.
The lady Senator from Bicol said her position against the death penalty is based on her belief that right to life is universal and the penalty is unchristian and anti-poor.
De Lima also pointed out that the country's flawed and weak justice system is prone to errors that may lead to wrongful and irreversible convictions of innocent Filipinos and asserted her belief that death penalty is not a proven deterrent to crime.
Based on her prior experience as justice secretary, De Lima personally witnessed the gaps and pitfalls in the country's criminal justice, which makes it prone to grave mistakes and may lead to miscarriage of justice and irreversible wrongful convictions.
"We cannot bring the dead back to life. We cannot atone for the wrongful deaths of those who are truly innocent," said De Lima, a champion of human rights and social justice.
De Lima insisted that there is no credible empirical evidence to prove that death penalty is an effective deterrent to crimes, contrary to what administration lawmakers are claiming in their aggressive push to revive it.
"Our objective then and now is simple: first fix our criminal justice system to ensure swift delivery of justice," De Lima emphasized.
As an alternative to death penalty, De Lima has refiled her measure this 18th Congress, seeking to impose qualified reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment for extraordinary heinous crimes, such as drug cases and plunder.
If enacted into law, De Lima's Senate Bill No. 182 will impose qualified reclusion perpetua without parole on persons found guilty of treason, piracy, murder, infanticide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons, destructive arson, rape, plunder and violations of Dangerous Drug Act of 2002.
In addition to qualified reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of 50 years with no possibility of parole, those guilty of extraordinary heinous crimes will be fined PhP5 million.
Source: Senate of the Philippines