Death penalty is under the Constitution — Salceda

LEGAZPI CITY — “Follow the Constitution!”

This was the statement of Albay Governor and Congressman-elect Joey Sarte Salceda in an interview with the Philippines News Agency Tuesday about his stand on the plans of the incoming Duterte administration to impose death penalty.

The outgoing Albay governor emphasized that before the death penalty can be implemented, it must be studied carefully and must be done in accordance with the law of the land.

“The Constitution is the law of the land, we must obey and follow it,” Salceda added.

He explained that the police force must investigate fully and, in this connection, the Public Attorney’s Office must be given fund in order to defend the rights of the poor — and justice must prevail.

Most of the accused that are in the death row are poor — those who don’t have knowledge in law and of their rights, the governor explained.

Republic Act 7659 or An Act to Impose the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, amending for the purpose the revised penal laws and for other purposes, provides that under the Constitution, specifically Article III, Section 19 paragraph (1) thereof, “Excessive fines shall not be imposed nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it”.

The crimes punishable by death under this Act 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.

The alarming upsurge of such crimes has resulted not only in the loss of human lives and wanton destruction of property but has also affected the nation’s efforts towards sustainable economic development and prosperity while at the same time has undermined the people’s faith in the Government and the latter’s ability to maintain peace and order in the country.

The Congress — in the interest of justice, public order and the rule of law, and the need to rationalize and harmonize the penal sanctions for heinous crimes — finds compelling reasons to impose the death penalty for said crimes. PNA/