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A Position Paper on the Death Penalty in the Philippines

By:Almer S. Cuerda

Introduction

Death penalty is a kind of capital punishment which refers to the sentence of death over
a person who has been decided by the government as guilty of committing capital crimes or
offences. Death penalty in the Philippines is stated on the Republic Act No. 7659 which is an
act to impose the death penalty for certain heinous crimes, amending for that purpose the
revised penal laws, as amended, other special penal laws, and for other purposes.

The death penalty can be traced back during the Pre-Spanish time where Filipinos
although infrequent, is already practicing it. The Spanish also imposed it on locals who rebelled
against them and it was retained during the American period. The Martial Law in 1965-1986,
even though it was abolished during Cory Aquino’s term, it was re-imposed when Ramos
stepped into the presidency. It was also present in Estrada and Arroyo’s term.

This paper present the pro and con of death penalty in the Philippines, even though the
death penalty is important to minimize the persons who have got a very hard crimes, but death
penalty violates the person to live.

Counter Arguments

The overwhelming conclusion from years of deterrence studies is that the death penalty
is, at best, no more of a deterrent than a sentence of life in prison. In fact some criminologists
maintain that the death penalty has the opposite effect; that is society is brutalized by the use
of the death penalty, and this increases the likelihood of more murder.

Society has always used punishment is discourage would be criminals from unlawful
action. Since society has the highest interest in preventing murder, it should use the strongest
punishment available to deter murder, and that is the death penalty. If murderers are sentence
to death and executed, potential murderers will think twice before killing for fear of losing their
own life.

Retribution is another word for revenge. Although our first instinct may be to inflict
immediate pain on someone who wrongs us, the standards of a mature society demand a more
measured response. The emotional impulse for revenge is not a sufficient justification for
invoking a system of capital punishment. Our laws and criminal justice system should lead us
to higher principles that demonstrate a complete respect for life, even the life of a murderer.
Encouraging our basest motives for revenge, which ends in another killing, extends the chain
of violence. The notion of an eye for an eye, or a life, is a simplistic one which our society has
never endorsed.

When someone takes a life, the balance of justice is disturbed. Unless that balance is
restored, society succumbs to a rule of violence. Only the taking of the murderer’s life restores
the balance and allows society to show convincingly that murder is an intolerable crime which
will be punishment in kind. Retribution has its basis in religious values, which have historically
maintained that it is proper to take an ‘’eye for an eye’’ and a life. Offenders deserve the worst
punishment under our system of law, and that is the death penalty.

There is no proof that any innocent person has actually been executed since increased
safeguards and appeals were added to our death penalty system in the 1970s. Even if such
executions have occurred, they are very rare. Imprisoning innocent people is also wrong, but
we cannot empty the prisons because of that minimal risk. If improvements are needed in the
system of representation, or in the use of scientific evidence such as DNA testing, then those
reforms should be instituted. However, the need for reform is not a reason to abolish the death
penalty. Besides, many of the claims of innocence by those who have been released from death
row are actually based on legal technicalities.

The death penalty alone imposes an irrevocable sentence. Once an inmate is executed,
nothing can be done to make amends if a mistake has been made. There is considerable
evidence that many mistakes have been made in sentencing people to death. Since 1973, at
least 121 people have been released from death row after evidence of their innocence emerged.
For every eight people executed, we have found one person on death row who never should
have been convicted. These statistics represent an in tolerate risk of executing the innocent.
Our capital punishment system is unreliable: two thirds of all capital trials contained serious
errors.

My Argument

Death penalty shows justice. There will be justice when we punish the guilty. It shows
quality, on T.V I have seen people being interviewed because one or some of their relatives
died. There are crying for help and wanting justice for the death of their loved ones. I know for
sure that justice can only be the solution for them to be relieved. A serious crimes must have
serious penalty and that is death. Justice can dignify a person.
According to Bedau H (1982), Most people have a natural fear of death-it’s a trait man
have to think about what will happen before we act, if we don’t think it consciously, we will
think about it unconsciously. Think, if every murdered who killed someone died instantly, the
homicide rate would be very low because no one like to die. We cannot do this, but if the justice
system can make it more swift and severe, we could change the laws to make capital
punishment faster and make an appeals a shorter process. The death penalty is important
because it could save the lives of thousands of potential victims who are at stake.

Conclusion

Death penalty is one of the debatable in the criminal justice system. Today, there are
many pros and cons to this death penalty issues. However, if people weight the argument
properly, and have empathy for the victims, they will be more inclined to favor capital
punishment. As a matter of fact, most people in the Philippines today are in favor of it. But
we need more states to enforce the death penalty.