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Death Penalty: Moral and Judicial Debate under the Philippine Government

In the long history of the Philippines, the death penalty was known and accepted fact. The code
of Kalantiao, the oldest recorded body of laws of our early ancestors showed the strictness under
the barangay that existed and based their moral acceptance of right and wrong. For example,
anyone caught stealing would be penalized by suffering the loss of finger.
The graver the theft, the more fingers were cut and if the theft was very grave, the hands was
chopped off, therefore it is understandable that even in the Early periods of our history there are
certain punishment for a offense, that even the code of Kalantiao imposed death penalty for rape
and murder that is considered as heinous crime.
Today, the State itself has different punishment opposite to its offence, our legislators implement
and pass a Bill that will sentenced a grave offender of crime, one of it is the Republic Act No.
7659 or the Death Penalty Act which gathers many controversies on its implementation,
according to this act a criminal who has been proven guilty to a heinous crime with the proper
due process of law will be executed.
An eye for an eye does not mean vengeance, for the Almighty God himself said, vengeance is
mine and by this he meant he would met justice in accordance with his mysterious way through
the Ten Commandments from which morals laws were taken. Precisely no one has the right to
deprive another person of his life, degrade him or her to the status of an animal, or abuse and
debase a person to the extent of destroying forever his or her dignity. But how about the victims?
Those who were murdered and raped, those children who were abduct for ramson and then
killed, for those school kids and teenagers who buys drugs and in the process slowly or make
them criminals, rapist and murderers while the pushers enrich themselves.
The death penalty itself on the other hand could strike fear in the minds of those criminals and
make them think twice before committing any act of violence. That the Capital punishment may
act as an instrument with which the righteous may be guarded against the offender. The
enforcement of Capital Punishment under proper circumstances places a high value on human
life and upholds dignity of man, than making him stop to the level of criminals by lashing out at
them with similar brutality in the guise of justice.
In the Philippines where there is no clean and fair justice system, there is no doubt that if ever
the Republic Act No. 7659 or the Death Penalty Act is reimposed there are many Filipino who will
lose their right to life and many will be sentenced with death penalty and die as it is said those
who have less in life, have less in law, that the death penalty will be biased to the poor ones who
could be easily accused by the rich one or those who were set up to be pointed out as the
criminal. As long as bail is pegged on wealth and the enforcement of law is swayed by money,
position and possessions, the death penalty will be a sword of Damocles over the head of the
impoverished and the weak.
We have not repented and turned from our evil ways, we continue to miss the mark. And so we
become desperate and hope to eradicate crime by wasting or executing the sinner, not the sin.
This study tested well the hypothesis that there are significant, relevant and argumentative
concepts and ideas involving the analysis of death penalty under the Philippine Government. The
study is an analysis of the extent of the abolishment of death penalty: Moral and Judicial debate
under the Philippine Government specifically it sought answer to the following questions:
Do death penalty control and decrease the crime rate in the Philippines?
What are the reasons why death penalty was abolished?
What will be the possible psychological effect of death penalty to the criminals that was in jail?
What is the possible role of the church?
Rationale and Limitation of the Study
The study was limited to the analysis of the abolishment of the Republic Act No. 7659 or the
Death Penalty Act: Moral and Judicial debate under the Philippine Government. The study does

not include other phrases such as how, where, and what are the methods nor the process in
death penalty.

The Capital Punishment

The expression Capital Punishment or the Death Penalty is ambiguous, referring to a species of
acts, acts of executing someone for conduct judge to be criminal. It often refers to a certain kind
of social institution. The institution of capital punishment is one pattern of punishment that forms
part of our legal system in many, but not all, societies. It involves certain roles like those of the
executioner and the criminal and certain rules such as the rule that only person condemned to
death by courts is to be executed. In most society, the punishment for murder is execution. In
the Philippines we have the same act, the R.A. no. 7659 or the death penalty act.
Two Theories on Death Penalty
Classical theory (on which our Revised Penal Code is based) regards crime as the product of
human free will, and the purpose of penalty as retribution. Man is held accountable for felonious
acts only if such free will remains unimpaired. For penal purposes, emphasis is placed more on
the act than on the man himself, and a direct proportion is established between crime and
penalty according to severity of the offense. Hence, the death penalty for heinous crimes.
Positivist theory, on the other hand, views human free will as a myth or at least a debatable
matter. According to it, man is subdued to occasionally by a strange and morbid phenomenon
which contrains him to do wrong contrary to his free will. For this reason, man as a moral being is
given primacy over deed, and crime is viewed as a social phenomenon that can't be checked by
retributive transactions, but by measures designed, cure or educate the criminal.
WHEREAS, the Constitution, specifically Article III, Section 19 paragraph (1) thereof, states
"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.
WHEREAS, 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;
WHEREAS, due to the alarming upsurge of such crimes which has resulted not only in the loss of
human lives and wanton destruction of property but 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
WHEREAS, the Congress, in the 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;
Now, therefore,
Sec. 1. Declaration of Policy. - It is hereby declared the policy of the State to foster and ensure
not only obedience to its authority, but also to adopt such measures as would effectively
promote the maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty and property, and the

promotion of the general welfare which are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the
blessings of democracy in a just and humane society;
Sec. 2. Article 114 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, is hereby amended to read as
Art. 114. Treason. - Any Filipino citizen who levies war against the Philippines or adheres to her
enemies giving them aid or comfort within the Philippines or elsewhere, shall be punished by
reclusion perpetua to death and shall pay a fine not to exceed 100,000 pesos."
No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses at least to the
same overt act or on confession of the accused in open court.
Likewise, an alien, residing in the Philippines, who commits acts of treason as defined in
paragraph 1 of this Article shall be punished by reclusion temporal to death and shall pay a fine
not to exceed 100,000 pesos."
Sec. 6. Article 248 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 248. Murder. - Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill
another, shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua, to death if
committed with any of the following attendant circumstances:
With treachery, taking advantage to superior strength, with the aid of armed men, or employing
means to weaken the defense or of means or persons to insure or afford impunity.
In consideration of price, reward or promise.
By means of inundation, fire poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of vessel, derailment of
assault upon a railroad, fall of an airship, or by means of motor vehicles, or with use of any
means involving great waste and ruin.
On occasion of any of the calamities enumerated in the preceding paragraph, or of an
earthquake eruption of a volcano, destructive cyclone, epidemic or other public calamity.
With evident premeditation.
With cruelty, by deliberately and inhumanly augmenting the suffering of the victim or outraging
or scoffing at his person or corpse.
Sec. 11. Article 335 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed. - Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a
woman under any of the following circumstances:
By using force or intimidation.
When the woman is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; and
When the woman is under twelve years of age or is demented.
The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.
Whenever the crime of rape is committed with the use of a deadly weapon or by two or more
persons, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has become insane, the penalty shall
be death.
When the rape is attempted or frustrated and a homicide is committed by reason or on the
occasion thereof, the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua to death.
The death penalty shall also be imposed it the crime of rape is committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:
When the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent, ascendant,
step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity within the third civil degree, or the
common-law-spouse of the parent of the victim.
When the victim is under the custody of the police or military authorities.
When the rape is committed in full view of the husband, parent, any of the children or other
relatives within the third degree of consanguinity.

When the victim is a religious or a child below seven (7) years old.
When the offender knows that he is afflicted with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
When committed by any member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the Philippine
National Police or any law enforcement agency.
When by reason or on the occasion of the rape, the victim has suffered permanent physical
Sec. 3. Importation of Prohibited Drugs. - The penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and a fine
ranging from five hundred thousand pesos to ten million pesos shall be imposed upon any person
who, unless authorized by law, shall import or bring into the Philippines any prohibited drug.
Sec. 22. Article 47 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 47. In what cases the death penalty shall not be imposed; Automatic review of the Death
Penalty Cases. - The death penalty shall be imposed in all cases in which it must be imposed
under existing laws, except when the guilty person is below eighteen (18) years of age at the
time of the commission of the crime or is more than seventy years of age or when upon appeal
or automatic review of the case by the Supreme Court, the required majority vote is not obtained
for the imposition of the death penalty, in which cases the penalty shall be reclusion perpetua.
In all cases where the death penalty is imposed by the trial court, the records shall be forwarded
to the Supreme Court for automatic review and judgment by the Court en banc, within twenty
(20) days but not earlier than fifteen (15) days after promulgation of the judgment or notice of
denial of any motion for new trial or reconsideration. The transcript shall also be forwarded
within ten (10) days from the filing thereof by the stenographic reporter."
Sec. 25. Article 83 of the same Code is hereby amended to read as follows:
Art. 83. Suspension of the execution of the death sentence. - The death sentence shall not be
inflicted upon a woman while she is pregnant or within one (1) year after delivery, nor upon any
person over seventy years of age. In this last case, the death sentence shall be commuted to
the penalty of reclusion perpetua with the accessory penalties provided in Article 40.
In all cases where the death sentence has become final, the records of the case shall be
forwarded immediately by the Supreme Court to the Office of the President for possible exercise
of the pardoning power."
The classical and contemporary literature on the subject of capital punishment provides several
very plausible arguments designed to prove that the act of executing a person for conduct judge
to be criminal is sometimes right.
Capital punishment is sometimes morally justified as a means of preventing the criminal from
committing additional crimes. By his past action the criminal has shown himself to be wicked and
dangerous. Anyone deprived enough to murder or rape once is very likely to act in socially
harmful ways again. The only sure way to prevent such a person from going on to murder or rape
in the future is to execute him. Imprisonment is a far less effective means of protecting society
from such dangerous criminals. Most prisoners are freed after a time-often having become most
dangerous than when they entered prison-by parole, pardon or the expiration of their sentences.
In any case, escape is always possible. And even within the confines of prison, a condemned
criminal may murder or rape a guard, a fellow inmate or a visitor. Executing a condemned
criminal is the only sure way to prevent him from committing additional acts of crime. Since it is
the only right to protect the innocent member of the society from the most serious crimes,
capital punishment is sometimes right.

While the arguments from preventions and deterrence look to the future and attempt to justify
capital punishment by an appeal to the future harm it will avoid, the argument from retribution
looks to the past and tries to justify capital punishment as the right response to the wrong that
has been done. Granted that society would be unjustified in taking a person's life in punishment
for any trivial crime, capital punishment is just retribution for the greatest crimes. If one person
has killed another, it is only fir that he give his own life in return. Kidnapping and rape are also
very wrong that the person who commits these acts deserves the greatest penalty, death. Justice
demands that each individual be treated by others and by society as he deserves. The person
who does good act ought to be rewarded with good, and the person who does evil ought to suffer
evil-each in proportion to the good or evil done. The conception of justice implicit in this
argument has traditionally been illustrated by the figure of a blindfold woman holding a set of
balance scales. The woman is blindfolded so that she cannot recognize her friends and enemies
and award the former more good and the latter more evil than they deserve. The balance scale
symbolizes the element of retribution, the notion that good or evil are to be awarded in return to
the good or evil he has done. Applied to punishment, this means that the punishment should fit
the crime that the evil inflicted upon the condemned criminal should be in proportion to the
degree of harm he has done. Since the only penalty bad enough to equal the greatest crime is
death, and since justice requires that the criminal receive just retribution for his past misdeeds,
and since it is right to do what justice requires, capital punishment or death penalty is sometimes

Capital punishment is sometimes right because it is sometimes an exercise of society's right to
self defense. Although it is generally wrong for one human being to take the life of another, there
are exceptional cases where this is morally justified, A person has right to kill his attacker if this
is necessary to preserve his life or limb. Society, like the individual, has the right to preserve
itself when its very existence is threatened. Now a murderer attacks not only his individual
victim, but the society itself. Since society is constituted by aggregate of individuals, to kill one or
more individual is already to begin to exterminate the society. Moreover, certain laws, such as
the law prohibiting murder, are necessary if any collections of individuals are to live together in
organized society. Hence, to break those laws that alone make the existence of society possible
is to threaten that society with death. Capital punishment is sometimes right because it is right
for society to exercise its self defense, and in extreme cases capital punishment or death penalty
does not defend the society from the attacks of a criminal that threaten its very existence.
Any serious moral problem is two-sided. If all or most of the relevant considerations are on one
side of the fence, everyone knows where the right course of action lies and there is no real moral
problem. In the case of every live moral issue, like that of capital punishment, there is room for
sincere and persistent disagreement because plausible arguments on one side can be met with
equally plausible argument on the other side of the issue. Having surveyed the arguments in
support of capital punishment, let us look at the arguments of those who insist that capital
punishment is always wrong, that it is never right to execute the condemned criminal no matter
how evil his crime.
The Moral Law
Capital punishment is always wrong because it is always a violation of moral laws. The moral law
consists of those rules that specify which kinds of acts are morally right and which kinds are
morally wrong. Historically, it has been thought of in various ways. In the Judeo-Christian
tradition, the moral law is usually taken to be the set of commands issued by God, whether
limited to the Ten Commandments or including the many mandates inscribed in the book of the
bible. Rationalistic philosopher have tended to ignore or reject revelation and think of moral laws
as self-evident truths about right and wrong discoverable by the natural light of human reason.
However the moral law may be conceived, it is usually presumed to forbid killing, to prohibit the
intentional killing of human being. Since the moral law declares that killing a human being is

always wrong and since the act of capital punishment is obviously an act of killing a human
being, capital punishment or death penalty is always wrong.
Monstrous Harm
Capital punishment or the death penalty is always wrong because it is always wrong to do
monstrous harm. Although lesser evils may be outweighed by greater goods, there are some acts
that do such great harm that under no circumstances could they be morally justified. The Nazi
extermination of million of Jews inflicted such monstrous harm upon these innocent people that
no real or imagined benefits to humanity could overweigh its wrongness. On a lesser scale,
capital punishment also does almost indescribable harm. By definition, it deprives its victim of
his every life. The loss of a human life is the greatest of evil because life is the most precious of
all human goods. Not only is life the necessary condition of any other good at all, it is intrinsically
good to the highest degree. That we prize life above all other things is shown by the way we
cling to life and resist death even when everything else seems lost.
In addition to the obvious harm of inflicting death, capital punishment causes cruel and inhuman
suffering. It may be that the moment of death is almost painless, although this is not always so.
Still, the period of awaiting execution is one of the most unrelieved tortures. With few if any
interesting activities to distract the condemned prisoner, there is little to think about but
impending doom. Under these conditions, the fear of death, the deepest and most terrifying of all
the fears natural to the human psyche, results in a condition anxiety approaching constant
Unnecessary Evil
Some evils are morally justified because they are necessary. Under duress of circumstances, it
may be necessary to do evil because that is the only possible way to avoid some greater evil.
The butchering of cattle, sheep and swine may be justified by the fact that this is only way of
sustaining the human population. Unfortunate as it is that any animal need die, it is less bad that
the brute animals perish than that human beings starve to death. This line of argument does not
justify hunting wild animals for mere pleasure, of course, for hunting is an necessary evil. Only
necessary evils, only those that must be done in order to prevent some worse calamity, are
morally right. Now it may be argued that the execution of criminals, like the killing of cattle, is
necessary evil. The suffering and death inflicted by capital punishment, evil as they are, are
justified by the fact that the death penalty is the only effective means of protecting society from
the even greater evils of murder, rape and kidnapping. But this is not so. Capital punishment is
not necessary because there is another equally effective and less undesirable means of dealing
with crime. Life imprisonment is just as effective as capital punishment in preventing and
deterring crime. The condemned criminal cannot continue his evil actions under close
supervision, and the fear of life imprisonment will deter potential criminal from doing wrong.
Moreover, life imprisonment is a lesser evil than capital punishment. Admittedly, it inflicts loss of
freedom, personal humiliation and extreme boredom upon the criminal. But suffering is required
by the very nature and purpose of punishment, and these evils are less cruel than death and the
agony of awaiting death. Since the death penalty is an unnecessary evil and it is always wrong to
do unnecessary evil, capital punishment is always wrong.
Capital punishment is wrong because it is irremediable; there is no remedy for the act of
execution. Unfortunately, there re occasion when even the sternest advocate of harsh
punishment deeply desire some remedy, for innocent persons are occasionally condemned to
death. Such judicial errors do not take place often, or at least are not often detected, but when
they do occur, we rebel at this gratuitous loss of innocent life and yearn for some remedy. Not all
punishment are beyond remedy. If someone is fined by the court as a penalty for alleged
wrongdoing, his money can be restored to him if it is subsequently discovered that he is
innocent. If a person's innocence is established after he has spent several years in prison,
restitution is not possible. There is no way in which society can give back to someone wrongly
condemned those lost years of his life or undo the suffering he has lived through. Still, some
compensation is possible. Society can give its innocent victim a considerable sum of money to
repay him, in part at least, for what he has suffered at its hand. It would be naively sentimental
to pretend that any compensation would adequately balance the harm inflicted upon the person

unjustly condemned to imprisonment, but some partial and imperfect remedy is available for any
such miscarriage of justice. In the case of capital punishment, no remedy of any kind is available
to make up in the slightest degree for the incalculable evil done by taking the life of an innocent
human being. Neither restitution nor compensation is possible, for there is no way in which
society can give a person's life back to him and no way to do good to someone who is dead and
gone. Since the possibility of error can never be eradicated from any human judicial procedure,
irremediable penalties are always wrong. Since capital punishment is an irremediable judicial
penalty, it is always wrong.
On the Abolition of the Death Penalty
The Commission on Human Rights has opposed the enactment of any law re-imposing the death
penalty law in the Philippines on the ground that it offends the dignity of human person and
human rights. Article II, Section11 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states:
"The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human
The aforesaid provision is in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Philippines had ratified, guarantees
that every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one
shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life. The Congress of the Philippines, nevertheless, enacted
Republic Act No. 7659 imposing the death sentence with the motivation that the law will be a
deterrent to the commission of heinous crimes, as enumerated in the aforesaid statute.
Statistics, however, show that the expectation of the Philippine Congress has not been realized.
Despite the enactment of the death penalty law and the execution of seven convicts, ore heinous
crimes have been committed. From January to October 1999, the reported cases of rape, which is
considered as a heinous crime under the statute, have substantially increased. Only recently, the
President of the Philippines expressed his second thoughts on the imposition of the death
penalty. He has commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of prisoners in Muntinlupa.
House Bill Nos. 6083, introduced by Representative Salacnib F. Baterina, and 8844, introduced by
Representative Roan L. Libarios, have proposed the repeal of republic Act No. 7659. Indeed, the
Philippines, known as a predominantly Christian country, by enacting the death penalty law, has
returned to the ancient era of Lex Taliones -" life for a life, tooth for a tooth" a system blatantly
contradictory to the higher values of law and justice. Pope John Paul II, in his "Encyclical
Evangelium Vitae (Gospel of Life)" issued on 25 March 1995, said that modern society now has
all the means of effectively suppressing all crimes by rendering harmless without definitely
denying them the chance to reform. Moreover, the concept of heinous crimes is now limited to
grievous offenses like genocide or international terrorism when the security of the state is placed
in danger. The Commission on Human Rights, since the enactment of Republic Act No. 7659 and
the execution of the first death sentence of Leo Echegaray, recommended to the Philippine
Senate to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming
the Abolition of Death Penalty. The said Protocol states that the abolition of the death penalty
contributes to the enhancement of the dignity and progressive development of human rights.
Criminality can be fought with sincere and effective law enforcement and impartial
administration of justice. The said Protocol has already been ratified by more than one-half of all
the countries and territories. It is about time that the Philippines join the trend in the United
Nations to eliminate death penalty in local statutes. The Commission on Human Rights issues
this Human Rights Advisory addressed to the President and the Congress of the Republic of the
Philippines for their appropriate action and all the person who value the dignity of the human
person and the preservation and sanctity of life.
Does the State have the right and authority to impose the capital punishment and put a criminal
to death? Advocates of human rights oppose capital punishment and say it is cruel, inhuman,
uncivilized and inconsistent with reason. The constitution of the Philippines has abolished capital
punishment but does not prohibit Congress to impose death penalty for the heinous crime. Today
our legislators have yet to define and rule on what constitutes a heinous crime.
Henry Davis, theologian support the view: God has given to the State the right over life and
death as he has given to everyman the right of self-defense against aggression. This moral

power of the State has been universally acknowledge in Christian tradition. It is explicitly
declared in Scripture to have existed in the Jewish State (Exodus 22:18); it was recognized in the
Roman Polity by Paul (Romans 13:4); for he (the prince) is God's minister to them for good. But
if they do that which is evil; fear; for the beareth not the sword in vain
He therefore declared that every person has the right to live without unjust molestation from the
others. Capital punishment is therefore unnecessary for peace and security of life and property.
In his thinking capital punishment is deterrent so that citizen may live and go about their
activities with our molestation. Nonetheless he allows capital punishment under the following
The criminal is given due process in the court
The crime imputed to him must be deserving of the highest possible punishment.
The guilt of the criminal is sufficiently proved beyond any doubt
Capital Punishment or Death Penalty is a destructive action which needs a special justification, a
special pleading. Capital punishment should never be compared with surgery where the intention
is the preservation of life and not the extinction of life. Directly harmful actions which do not
bring benefit to one who suffers them are hard to justify. Such that capital punishment for it
directly destroy the life of a person, preventing him to make amends and to change his life.
Indeed, it is presumed that the State has the duty to rehabilitate criminals.
Bernard Haring suggest that crimes re the result of socio environmental conditions. He declares
as his personal conviction that the State has no right to uphold the death penalty unless it has
done all in time power to give better education and to care for a more just and humane
environment he notes.
Recapituation: there are two probable opinions with Christianity and within the Catholic Church
regarding the death penalty. This author favor to the reimposition of death penalty for heinous
crimes and for as long as the conditions providing for a just and honest trials of criminals are
observed strictly Philippines situation indicates that life imprisonment is not a very promising
Newspaper Clip: Views on Reimposition Of Death Penalty
The Republic Act No. 7659 also known as the Death Penalty Act has undergone different analysis
and interpretations thus its implementation says will decrease the Philippines crime rate, but it
remains unquestionable.
Death Penalty for Graft and Corruption
DELICADEZA: A combination of delicadeza and public opinion led to the withdrawal of Zoe Baird,
one of America's ablest women lawyers, as President Clinton's nominee for attorney general. She
was the first woman ever to be nominated for the position. Reason for withdrawal: She had hired
a Peruvian couple who were illegal immigrants. In the Philippines, delicadeza and public opinion
cannot pry everyone who has already been nominated for a high position out of a job especially
if he has already been installed. We seek refuge behind the principle that one is innocent until
proven guilty. This theory leaves no room for either public opinion or delicadeza. We are only
fouled weather democrats.
Death Penalty for Drugs
According to reports in the regional press, the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization has urged
all ASEAN member states to impose the death penalty for drug trafficking. At a recent meeting in
Kuala, Lumpur, delegates from five member states, including the Philippines, agreed that
trafficking in over 15 grams of heroin or morphine should be made a capital offense.
Meriam Santiago said the number of crimes committed daily rose to 34.3 percent in 1990, during
which there were 5,193 index crimes reported representing what she called a significant increase
in crime against property, life and chastity.

as an immigration commissioner, I was privy to intelligence reports on the activities of global

criminal syndicates, which use the Philippines as the transhipment centers for drugs in Asia. Only
the death penalty will deter the syndicate.
She pointed out that the 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty, and from that time,
police reports show that an average of two people is killed daily.
In Manila, from the time death penalty was abolished, the criminality rate rose by more than
100 percent. she said.
Bengson a practicing lawyer, said legislator as representatives of the people should now take
heed of their constituents' voice. He noted that even among churchmen, there is division on
weather death penalty is moral.
In the face of such doubt, the people's voice should be the final arbiter, he said.
He noted the near unanimity of law enforcers, prosecutors, justices, and local officials on the
necessity of reimposing the death penalty.
Letters to newspaper editors and phoned-in comments on public affairs radio and television
shows popular support for the death penalty, Bengson added.
He also contested arguments that the state will be just like the criminals if it puts murderers to
A Government that is unwilling to put its most hardened and incorrigible criminals to death will
find its citizens at the mercy of criminals who find nothing wrong with putting innocent people to
death, he said.
He added that outlawing or banning the death penalty will be tantamount to giving the wrong
signals to criminal elements.
We'll be saying to them: You can kill innocent women, children, and old people but be assured
that your own life is safe because we don't allow the death penalty, he said.
Judge Tirso Velasco, presiding judge of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 88, said his
colleagues acknowledge the need for restoration of the death penalty.
The death penalty should be implemented only according to the gravity of the crime against the
The death penalty will prevent more heinous crime.
The reimposition of the death penalty will comply with the biblical principle of an eye for an eye,
a tooth for a tooth.
Judge Maximino Asuncion of RTC Branch 104 said that while he was not sure that the death
penalty will reduce incidence of crime, a majority clamors its reimposition.
Everybody should have their own share of the law, he said
The 1986 Constitution abolished the death penalty, but allowed Congress to reimpose it on
certain heinous crimes.
Fourteen of fifteen justices of the Supreme Court, support the reimposition of the death penalty.
The association of Governors, City and Town Mayors and Councilors also favor the restoration of
capital punishment.
A 20,000- strong student organization threatened not to vote and campaign against a Senator
who oppose the death penalty if they seek re-election.
When deposed President Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, he ordered a notorious Chinese
Drug pusher executed by musketry under the dangerous drugs law. The execution sent shock
waves down drug pushing, addiction and illegal importation of drugs for their sale was down to a

The penalty for peddling drug is death in at least six Asian countries. Malaysia showed the way
on July 7, 1985. Death to drug dealers is mandatory in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and
Singapore. The People's Republic of China has many times reported execution of drug pusher.
In the United States which is made up of 50 states, only 11 states have abolished capital
punishment namely Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Winconsin, Michigan, West Virginia,
New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.
Prof. Ed Garcia, principal author of the provision abolishing the death penalty in the 1987
Constitution, cites an 1989 Amnesty International Study of the use of the death penalty in the
Philippines which presents case of studies of at least eight instances where judicial mistakes had
resulted in the death penalty being imposed on innocent individuals and one case in 1958 where
it was carried out and blameless farmer's life snuffled out.
Another useful statistics of study made on the death penalty in the Philippines from 1946-1976
showed that of 63 persons on whom the death penalty was imposed only three came from so
called middle class family background while the rest were from what are referred to as the
disadvantages sector.
August 12, 1991 Senators who favor the return of the death penalty are confident they have
enough vote to pass the proposal the next day, but their pro-life colleagues are about to give up
the fight.
This study determined the debates on death penalty referring to moral and judicial control under
the Philippine Government. It further elaborated on the disputes of opinions and facts regarding
the unresolved issue rooming continuously to present times.
Though, it specifically answers the following questions:



revised penal laws indicated for the said capital punishment issue?
biblical oaths in accordance to death penalty offenses?
pros and cons of capital punishment?
arguments for capital punishment and arguments against capital punishment?

Significant and relevant yet argumentative views showed further concerns with the reimposition
of capital punishment. Vehement forms of idealistic battles pertaining to purposive biblical,
theoretical, judicial and moral facts give it's way to the complication and inconsistencies to which
laws governing the country are oftenly refined.
Large numbers of politicians were merely in approvement with the reimposition as of the times
heinous crimes were observed frequently during their terms of service and left death penalty as
the only option for the hinderance of such pandemonium in the society and evaluations by other
countries as basis for the inactment.
Abolition of Republic Act No. 7659 was much praised because it was proven that capital
punishment is not always succeeding in preventing heinous crimes and will only deprive the
country's capability and irredibility towards authenticity and fairness in judgement. Fundamental
right of every human being to life and dignity of human person and preservation and sanctity of
life were highly and truly valued

The Pros and Cons of Capital Punishment

Capital punishment or the death penalty is the act of killing or executing a person, who was
found guilty of a serious crime, by the government.
Without a doubt, executions are considered the ultimate punishment for a crime, because there
is no repeal from death. The logical alternative for capital punishment is life in prison without
parole, yet a lot of nations still perform the death penalty. This is because the debate whether
capital punishment is ethical and justifiable is still widely disputed.

Therefore, lets review each reason for and against capital punishment to determine if it is ethical
and logical.
Reasons For Capital Punishment
Prison: There are three purposes for prison. First, prison separates criminals for the safety of the
general population. Second, prison is a form of punishment. Third and finally, the punishment of
prison is expected to rehabilitate prisoners; so that when prisoners are released from prison,
these ex-convicts are less likely to repeat their crimes and risk another prison sentence. The
logic for capital punishment is that prisons are for rehabilitating convicts who will eventually
leave prison, and therefore prison is not for people who would never be released from prisons
Cost of Prison: Typically, the cost of imprisoning someone for life is much more expensive than
executing that same person. However with the expensive costs of appeals in courts of law, it is
arguable if capital punishment is truly cost effective when compared with the cost of life
Safety: Criminals who receive the death penalty are typically violent individuals. Therefore for
the safety of the prisons guards, other prisoners, and the general public (in case a death row
inmate escapes prison), then logic dictates that safety is a reason for capital punishment.
Deters Crime: There is no scientific proof that nations with capital punishment have a lower
rate of crime, therefore the risk of the death penalty does not seem to deter crime.
Extreme Punishment: The logic is that the more severe the crime, then the more severe the
punishment is necessary. But what is the most severe punishment: lifetime in prison or
execution? I am not sure that anyone alive is qualified to answer this question.
Appropriate Punishment: It is commonly believed that the punishment of a crime should
equal the crime, if possible. This is also known as "an eye for eye" justice. Therefore using this
logic, the appropriate punishment for murder is death.
Vengeance: Some crimes are so horrific that some people think that revenge or retribution is
the only option. This reasoning is not based on logic; but rather, it is based on emotions.
Therefore, this reason should not be deemed a valid justification.
Reasons Against Capital Punishment
Prison: It is often believe that prison is a viable alternative to executing a person. However as
mentioned above, even imprisonment for life with no chance of parole still has issues.
Not Humane: Killing a person is not humane, even if the criminal is not humane. What is
humane is subjective to a persons upbringing, education, beliefs, and religion. Therefore
different people interpret what is humane differently. For instance, some people consider putting
a pet asleep is humane if the animal is in great pain, but doing the same thing for a person is

often not considered humane. Other people would not kill an animal even for food. In some
cultures, mercy killings are honorable.

Fairness: The life of the criminal can not compensate for the crime committed. Basically, two
wrongs do not make a right.
Pain of Death: Executing a person can be quick and painless, or executing a person can be slow
and painful. The method, and therefore the pain, of capital punishment is also subjective to
societys norms. Some cultures prefer suffering, others do not.
Violates Human Rights: Some groups of people deem death a violation of the persons right to
live. Other groups of people disagree that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment.
There is no clear definition of what human rights are, so there will always be disagreements with
whether it violates human rights.
Wrongly Convicted: Some people executed were proven too late to be wrongly convicted of a
crime that they did not commit.
Playing God: Some people believe that all deaths should be natural. Other people believe
murder is a part of nature.
Salvation: Felons have less time and likelihood of finding spiritual salvation if they are executed.
The obvious question for this reasoning is salvation a valid concern for the state?
Forgiveness: Criminals have less time and likelihood to seek forgiveness for their crimes if they
are executed. Again, is forgiveness a valid concern for the government?
Amends: Executing someone decreases the time and likelihood for the criminal to repair any
damage from the crime. Should the state be concerned over this too?
Family Hardship: It is often said that the family members of the executed needlessly suffer too,
yet the crime itself has victims and family members too.
Reasons For and Against Capital Punishment
Religion: Different religions have different beliefs concerning capital punishment. Even
individual religions have contradictory beliefs. For instance, the Bible clear states the death
penalty as valid and just, yet at the same time murder is not allowed and salvation must be
offered. Since not everyone is of the same religion and each person can even interpret the same
religion differently, the role of religion concerning the death penalty is very unclear. This is why
governments should separate state and church.
Morality: The morality of killing a person is also subjective for each person. Throughout the life
of an individual, their beliefs and morality can and most likely will change.
As we can plainly see, there are several good reasons to support and oppose capital punishment.
Also, there are several bad reasons to be for and against the death penalty too. Furthermore, the
general population has a wide range of beliefs concerning capital punishment. Even these beliefs
of the general population are subject to change.
In the end, it is what the majority of society currently believes to be moral that should be
reflected by the actions of their government.

PRO Death Penalty

CON Death Penalty

1. Morality

PRO: "The crimes of rape, torture, treason, kidnapping,

murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a moral code that
escapes apodictic [indisputably true] proof by expert
testimony or otherwise. But communities would plunge
into anarchy if they could not act on moral assumptions
less certain than that the sun will rise in the east and set
in the west. Abolitionists may contend that the death
penalty is inherently immoral because governments
should never take human life, no matter what the
provocation. But that is an article of faith, not of fact. The
death penalty honors human dignity by treating the
defendant as a free moral actor able to control his own
destiny for good or for ill; it does not treat him as an
animal with no moral sense."
Bruce Fein, JD
Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the Center
for Law and Accountability
"Individual Rights and Responsibility - The Death Penalty,
But Sparingly,"
June 17, 2008

CON: "Ultimately, the moral question surrounding capital

punishment in America has less to do with whether those
convicted of violent crime deserve to die than with
whether state and federal governments deserve to kill
those whom it has imprisoned. The legacy of racial
apartheid, racial bias, and ethnic discrimination is
unavoidably evident in the administration of capital
punishment in America. Death sentences are imposed in
a criminal justice system that treats you better if you are
rich and guilty than if you are poor and innocent. This is
an immoral condition that makes rejecting the death
penalty on moral grounds not only defensible but
necessary for those who refuse to accept unequal or
unjust administration of punishment."
Bryan Stevenson, JD
Professor of Law at New York University School of Law
"Close to Death: Reflections on Race and Capital
Punishment in America," from Debating the Death
Penalty: Should America Have Capital Punishment? The
Experts on Both Sides Make Their Best Case

2. Constitutionality

PRO: "Simply because an execution method may result in

pain, either by accident or as an inescapable
consequence of death, does not establish the sort of
'objectively intolerable risk of harm' [quoting the opinion of
the Court from Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U. S. 825, 842,
846 (1994)] that qualifies as cruel and unusual...
Kentucky has adopted a method of execution believed to
be the most humane available, one it shares with 35 other
States... Kentucky's decision to adhere to its protocol
cannot be viewed as probative of the wanton infliction of
pain under the Eighth Amendment... Throughout our
history, whenever a method of execution has been
challenged in this Court as cruel and unusual, the Court
has rejected the challenge. Our society has nonetheless
steadily moved to more humane methods of carrying out
capital punishment."

CON: "Death is... an unusually severe punishment,

unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its enormity... The
fatal constitutional infirmity in the punishment of death is
that it treats 'members of the human race as nonhumans,
as objects to be toyed with and discarded. [It is] thus
inconsistent with the fundamental premise of the Clause
that even the vilest criminal remains a human being
possessed of common human dignity.' [quoting himself
from Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238, 257 (1972)] As
such it is a penalty that 'subjects the individual to a fate
forbidden by the principle of civilized treatment
guaranteed by the [Clause].' [quoting C.J. Warren
from Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 101 (1958)] I therefore
would hold, on that ground alone, that death is today a
cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Clause...
I would set aside the death sentences imposed... as
violative of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments."

Baze v. Rees (529 KB)

US Supreme Court, in a decision written by Chief
Justice John G. Roberts
Apr. 16, 2008

William J. Brennan, JD
Justice of the US Supreme Court
Dissenting opinion in Gregg v. Georgia (347 KB)
July 2, 1976

3. Deterrence

PRO: "Common sense, lately bolstered by statistics, tells

us that the death penalty will deter murder... People fear
nothing more than death. Therefore, nothing will deter a
criminal more than the fear of death... life in prison is less
feared. Murderers clearly prefer it to execution -otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to life in

CON: "[T]here is no credible evidence that the death

penalty deters crime more effectively than long terms of
imprisonment. States that have death penalty laws do not
have lower crime rates or murder rates than states
without such laws. And states that have abolished capital
punishment show no significant changes in either crime or

prison instead of death... Therefore, a life sentence must

be less deterrent than a death sentence. And we must
execute murderers as long as it is merely possible that
their execution protects citizens from future murder."
Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD
Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham University
"For the Death Penalty," New York Times
Oct. 17, 1983

murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent effect.

Claims that each execution deters a certain number of
murders have been thoroughly discredited by social
science research."
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
"The Death Penalty: Questions and Answers,"
Apr. 9, 2007

4. Retribution

PRO: "Society is justly ordered when each person

receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this just order,
for the criminal takes from people their lives, peace,
liberties, and worldly goods in order to give himself
undeserved benefits. Deserved punishment protects
society morally by restoring this just order, making the
wrongdoer pay a price equivalent to the harm he has
done. This is retribution, not to be confused with revenge,
which is guided by a different motive. In retribution the
spur is the virtue of indignation, which answers injury with
injury for public good... Retribution is the primary purpose
of just punishment as such... [R]ehabilitation, protection,
and deterrence have a lesser status in punishment than
J. Budziszewski, PhD
Professor of Government and Philosophy at the
University of Texas at Austin
"Capital Punishment: The Case for
Aug./Sep. 2004

CON: "Retribution is just another word for revenge, and

the desire for revenge is one of the lowest human
emotions perhaps sometimes understandable, but not
really a rational response to a critical situation. To kill the
person who has killed someone close to you is simply to
continue the cycle of violence which ultimately destroys
the avenger as well as the offender. That this execution
somehow give 'closure' to a tragedy is a myth. Expressing
ones violence simply reinforces the desire to express it.
Just as expressing anger simply makes us more angry. It
does not drain away. It contaminates the otherwise good
will which any human being needs to progress in love and
Raymond A. Schroth, SJ
Jesuit Priest and Community Professor of the Humanities
at St. Peter's College
Email to
Sep. 5, 2008

5. Irrevocable Mistakes

PRO: "...No system of justice can produce results which

are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will be made in
any system which relies upon human testimony for proof.
We should be vigilant to uncover and avoid such
mistakes. Our system of justice rightfully demands a
higher standard for death penalty cases. However, the
risk of making a mistake with the extraordinary due
process applied in death penalty cases is very small, and
there is no credible evidence to show that any innocent
persons have been executed at least since the death
penalty was reactivated in 1976... The inevitability of a
mistake should not serve as grounds to eliminate the
death penalty any more than the risk of having a fatal
wreck should make automobiles illegal..."
Steven D. Stewart, JD
Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County Indiana
Message on the Clark County Prosecutor website
Aug. 6, 2008

CON: "...Since the reinstatement of the modern death

penalty, 87 people have been freed from death row
because they were later proven innocent. That is a
demonstrated error rate of 1 innocent person for every 7
persons executed. When the consequences are life and
death, we need to demand the same standard for our
system of justice as we would for our airlines...It is a
central pillar of our criminal justice system that it is better
that many guilty people go free than that one innocent
should suffer... Let us reflect to ensure that we are being
just. Let us pause to be certain we do not kill a single
innocent person. This is really not too much to ask for a
civilized society."
Russ Feingold, JD
US Senator (D-WI)
introducing the "National Death Penalty Moratorium Act of
April 26, 2000

6. Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison

PRO: "Many opponents present, as fact, that the cost of

the death penalty is so expensive (at least $2 million per
case?), that we must choose life without parole ('LWOP')
at a cost of $1 million for 50 years. Predictably, these
pronouncements may be entirely false. JFA [Justice for
All] estimates that LWOP cases will cost $1.2 million-$3.6

CON: "In the course of my work, I believe I have reviewed

every state and federal study of the costs of the death
penalty in the past 25 years. One element is common to
all of these studies: They all concluded that the cost of the
death penalty amounts to a net expense to the state and
the taxpayers. Or to put it differently,the death penalty is

million more than equivalent death penalty cases. There

is no question that the up front costs of the death penalty
are significantly higher than for equivalent LWOP cases.
There also appears to be no question that, over time,
equivalent LWOP cases are much more expensive... than
death penalty cases. Opponents ludicrously claim that the
death penalty costs, over time, 3-10 times more than
Dudley Sharp
Director of Death Penalty Resources at Justice for All
"Death Penalty and Sentencing Information," Justice for
All website
Oct. 1, 1997

clearly more expensive than a system handling similar

cases with a lesser punishment. [It] combines the costliest
parts of both punishments: lengthy and complicated death
penalty trials, followed by incarceration for life...
Everything that is needed for an ordinary trial is needed
for a death penalty case, only more so:
More pre-trial time...
More experts...
Twice as many attorneys...
Two trials instead of one will be conducted: one for guilt
and one for punishment.
And then will come a series of appeals during which the
inmates are held in the high security of death row."
Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD
Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information
Testimony to the Judiciary Committee of the Colorado
State House of Representatives regarding "House Bill
1094 - Costs of the Death Penalty and Related Issues"
Feb. 7, 2007

7. Race

PRO: "[T]he fact that blacks and Hispanics are charged

with capital crimes out of proportion to their numbers in
the general population may simply mean that blacks and
Hispanics commit capital crimes out of proportion to their
numbers. Capital criminals dont look like America... No
one is surprised to find more men than women in this
class. Nor is it a shock to find that this group contains
more twenty-year-olds than septuagenarians. And if as
the left tirelessly maintains poverty breeds crime, and if
as it tiresomely maintains the poor are
disproportionately minority, then it must follow as the
left entirely denies that minorities will be
'overrepresented' among criminals."

CON: "Despite the fact that African Americans make up

only 13 percent of the nations population, almost 50
percent of those currently on the federal death row are
African American. And even though only three people
have been executed under the federal death penalty in
the modern era, two of them have been racial minorities.
Furthermore, all six of the next scheduled executions are
African Americans. The U.S. Department of Justices own
figures reveal that between 2001 and 2006, 48 percent of
defendants in federal cases in which the death penalty
was sought were African Americans the biggest
argument against the death penalty is that it is handed out
in a biased, racially disparate manner."

Roger Clegg, JD
General Counsel at the Center for Equal Opportunity
"The Color of Death: Does the Death Penalty
Discriminate?, National Review Online
June 11, 2001

National Association for the Advancement of Colored

People (NAACP)
"NAACP Remains Steadfast in Ending Death Penalty &
Fighting Injustice in America's Justice System, NAACP
June 28, 2007

8. Income Level

PRO: "The next urban legend is that of the threadbare but

plucky public defender fighting against all odds against a
team of sleek, heavily-funded prosecutors with limitless
resources. The reality in the 21st century is startlingly
different... the past few decades have seen the
establishment of public defender systems that in many
cases rival some of the best lawyers retained privately...
Many giant silk-stocking law firms in large cities across
America not only provide pro-bono counsel in capital
cases, but also offer partnerships to lawyers whose sole
job is to promote indigent capital defense."
Joshua Marquis, JD
District Attorney of Clatsop County, Oregon
"The Myth of Innocence, Journal of Criminal Law and
Mar. 31, 2005

CON: "Who pays the ultimate penalty for crimes? The

poor. Who gets the death penalty? The poor. After all the
rhetoric that goes on in legislative assemblies, in the end,
when the net is cast out, it is the poor who are selected to
die in this country. And why do poor people get the death
penalty? It has everything to do with the kind of defense
they get. Money gets you good defense. That's why you'll
never see an O.J. Simpson on death row. As the saying
goes: 'Capital punishment means them without the capital
get the punishment.'"
Helen Prejean, MA
Anti-death penalty activist and author of Dead Man
"Would Jesus Pull the Switch?, Salt of the Earth

9. Attorney Quality

PRO: "Defense attorneys... routinely file all manner of

motions and objections to protect their clients from
conviction. Attorneys know their trial tactics will be
thoroughly scrutinized on appeal, so every effort is made
to avoid error, ensuring yet another level of protection for
the defendant. They [death penalty opponents]... have
painted a picture of incompetent defense lawyers,
sleeping throughout the trial, or innocent men being
executed. Their accusations receive wide media
coverage, resulting in a near-daily onslaught on the death
penalty. Yet, through all the hysteria, jurors continue to
perform their responsibilities and return death sentences."
California District Attorneys Association (CDAA)
"Prosecutors' Perspective on California's Death Penalty,
Mar. 2003

CON: "[A] shocking two out of three death penalty

convictions have been overturned on appeal because of
police and prosecutorial misconduct, as well as serious
errors by incompetent court-appointed defense attorneys
with little experience in trying capital cases. How can we
contend that we provide equal justice under the law when
we do not provide adequate representation to the poor in
cases where a life hangs in the balance? We, the
Congress, must bear our share of responsibility for this
deplorable situation. In short, while others, like Governor
Ryan in Illinois, have recognized the flaws in the death
penalty, the Congress still just doesn't get it. This system
is broken."
John Conyers, Jr., JD
US Congressman (D-MI)
Hearing for the Innocence Protection Act of 2000 before
the Subcommittee on Crime of the Committee on the
Judiciary of the House of Representatives
June 20, 2000

10. Physicians at Executions

PRO: "Accepting capital punishment in principle means

accepting it in practice, whether by the hand of a
physician or anyone else... If one finds the practice too
brutal, one must either reject it in principle or seek to
mitigate its brutality. If one chooses the latter option, then
the participation of physicians seems more humane than
delegating the deed to prison wardens, for by condoning
the participation of untrained people who could inflict
needless suffering that we physicians might have
prevented, we are just as responsible as if we had
inflicted the suffering ourselves. The AMA [American
Medical Association] position should be changed either to
permit physician participation or to advocate the abolition
of capital punishment. The hypocritical attitude of 'My
hands are clean let the spectacle proceed' only leads
to needless human suffering."

CON: "The American Medical Association's policy is clear

and unambiguous... requiring physicians to participate in
executions violates their oath to protect lives and erodes
public confidence in the medical profession. A physician is
a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life...
The use of a physician's clinical skill and judgment for
purposes other than promoting an individual's health and
welfare undermines a basic ethical foundation of medicine
first, do no harm. The guidelines in the AMA Code of
Medical Ethics address physician participation in
executions involving lethal injection. The ethical opinion
explicitly prohibits selecting injection sites for executions
by lethal injection, starting intravenous lines, prescribing,
administering, or supervising the use of lethal drugs,
monitoring vital signs, on site or remotely, and declaring

Bruce E. Ellerin, MD, JD

Doctor of Oncology Radiation at Sierra Providence Health
Response letter to the New England Journal of Medicine
regarding an article titled "When Law and Ethics Collide
Why Physicians Participate in Executions," by Atul
Gawande, MD
July 6, 2006

American Medical Association (AMA)

"AMA: Physician Participation in Lethal Injection Violates
Medical Ethics," press release from the AMA website
July 17, 2006

PRO Death Penalty

CON Death Penalty