Pangasinan solon asked to vote ‘no’ to death penalty bill

DAGUPAN CITY — Pangasinan Fourth District Congressman Christopher “Toff” De Venecia is being asked in a resolution of the city council here to vote “no” to the house bill seeking the reimposition of death penalty in the country.

The resolution proposed on Wednesday during the council’s regular session by Councilor Luis Samson Jr. and seconded by Liga ng mga Barangay president Lino Fernandez, was adopted despite the objection of Councilor Jose Netu Tamayo.

“We all know that the Philippines is a co-signatory to international human rights treaties and the right to life as well as the universal declaration of human rights is the center of all these international treaties,” Samson said.

He contended that there is no credible evidence or recognized research that death penalty could deter heinous crimes, including related offenses as argued by many death penalty proponents.

However, Councilor Jose Neto Tamayo, a trial lawyer, disagreed, saying there must be a death penalty because this is now accepted worldwide as deterrent to heinous crimes.

Death penalty is now in effect in advanced countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China and Japan.

“More advanced countries take death penalty as an accepted form of retribution against those who committed heinous crimes and who no longer deserve to live because of the gravity and extent of the crimes they had committed.

“As a matter of fact, in the 1987 Constitution framed and adopted under the administration of then President Corazon C. Aquino and even before that, death penalty was accepted as a form of penalty against those who committed heinous crimes, like rape, multiple murder and others,” Tamayo said.

Death penalty must be enforced so extra-judicial killings will not take place, he pointed out, contending that extra-judicial killings happen because some people no longer trust the courts.

Councilor Samson refused to debate with Tamayo on the issues he raised but instead said that death penalty shall be imposed only for some compelling reasons if the crime committed is heinous.

Samson said that in November 2007, the Philippines ratified and became party to the second optional protocol when states agreed to abolish the death penalty within their borders.

He explained though that his resolution is just a mere expression of sentiment as it was being asked by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, a known anti-death penalty advocate.

“This is the very reason why I came up with this draft resolution. Anyway, it is up for our good Congressman Christopher de Venecia, on whether he will vote yes or no to the proposal in Congress,” he said. Leonardo Micua/