BAGUIO CITY – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) – Cordillera Regional Office spearheaded a community – based dialogue on the proposed death penalty bill at Health 101 Lodge here.
CHR Regional Director Romel Daguimol said such dialogue is being done simultaneously in various parts of the country primarily to bring the CHR’s stand on the re – imposition of death penalty and to gather the pulse of the different sectors of society on the issue. The public’s opinion, whether pro or against, will be collated and summarized, for the CHR’s record, he said.
Participants in the dialogue were representatives from law enforcement agencies, religious/faith groups, academic institutions and local government units.
Atty. Lovely Calumnag of CHR, in presenting the CHR’s Anti – death penalty campaign, outlined that the imposition of death penalty is in violation of the right to life. The Philippines signed and ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) which ”commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.”
It is CHR’s constitutional mandate to monitor the government’s compliance with its international treaty obligations on human rights, as well as to recommend to Congress effective measures to promote human rights, Calumnag explained.
It is the Commission’s goal for the country to have a functional, unbiased, efficient legal system that guarantees certainty of punishment for perpetrators through due process and rule of law, together with broad public confidence, she added.
There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty deter any crime, nor criminals ponder on the fear of death, as what pro – death penalty group claims, she said citing that in 1999 there were seven (death penalty) executions made but still criminality increased by 15.3 percent during the same year.
The participants were engaged in a workshop and an open forum to discuss the proposed re-imposition of death penalty. Those who opposed the proposed death penalty bill were also enjoined to sign the petition/commitment against the re-imposition of death penalty as a capital punishment.
The CHR is encouraging people to spread its advocacy that death penalty is not the answer against criminality or to attain justice for all, according to Calumnag . /JDP/CCD – PIA CAR#