The Duterte administration’s efforts to revive the death penalty were criticized in a noise barrage against death penalty held in front of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde Taft Campus, a day after the House of Representatives voted to reimpose capital punishment.
“Ang nais natin ay tunay na pagbabago, ngunit anong binibigay sa atin ng administrasyong ito kundi puro kamatayan,” said Anna Lyn Bandagosa, Advocacy Coordinator of Benilde Center for Social Action (CSA).
According to Bandagosa, the majority of the estimated 7,000 people who have died in the state-sponsored war on drugs are poor. She added these people will be continuously executed if the death penalty will be implemented into law since they are not able to hire competent lawyers and preventing them to make an appeal.
Photos by Aly Mananquil
“In order for us to have genuine development, we need to have a genuine government that provides the basic needs of the people. Hindi ‘yung gusto niya lang pumatay, ‘yun na ‘yun,” Bandagosa added.
In the same event, Br. Michael Valenzuela FSC said “the death penalty is actually just a cover-up for the incompetence and the corrupt ability of our judicial and our justice system.”
According to Valenzuela, Senator Leila de Lima’s recent arrest did not go through due process, regarding the debated jurisdiction of the judge who issued the warrant, further depicting how the country’s judicial system has been politicized.
“If this is the way justice is going to be applied, that you can be charged without proof; that you can be jailed without due process, why do we want to put the death penalty in the hands of people who are corruptible, who are politicized, and who use the system basically to get back at those who criticize them?” Valenzuela said
Believing the passage of the death penalty is going to make the Philippines a nation of killers, especially on an institutional level, Villanueva called on the Benildean community to support the institution’s commitment to inclusion.
Last Tuesday, the House of Representatives ratified President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise to revive Death Penalty by approving House Bill 4727 with 217 votes of yes, 54 of no, and one abstention in its third and final reading. The House proposed drug-related cases to be included as crimes punishable by death. The Senate is expected to finalize the decision next week.
Meanwhile, Br. Dennis “BroDen” Magbanua FSC believes ultimately death is not a solution to anything. The College’s President believes a bill on rehabilitation or anti-corruption should be done instead.
“It’s like “just kill them.” When they passed the bill yesterday, they were not even reflecting on what they were doing. They’re just talking as if like they know already that they will pass it so it’s not anymore a deeper reflection of what is really the meaning of death penalty,” BroDen said in an interview with The Benildean.
Furthermore, the CSA is planning to conduct a noise barrage every Friday to condemn the death penalty. They are also set to attend Senate plenary sessions.
“Ito na yung panahon, ito na yung senyales na tayo ay dapat kumilos para sa pagbabago. Wag na natin hintayin na ibang tao ang magbigay ng pagbabago natin, kundi tayo dapat mismo ang gumawa at kumilos para sa pagbabago natin,“ Bandagosa said.
Benilde’s noise barrage, in participation with all Lasallian schools’ protest against death penalty, was organized by CSA and the Center for Lasallian Ministry.