Death Penalty: Bringing back the Social Order in the Philippines By Adrian Avilado Antazo, MBA

Death Penalty:

Bringing back the Social Order in the Philippines

Death Penalty: Bringing back the Social Order in the Philippines

By Adrian Avilado Antazo, MBA

 “…there are some defendants who have earned the ultimate punishment our society has to offer by committing murder with aggravating circumstances present. I believe life is sacred. It cheapens the life of an innocent murder victim to say that society has no right to keep the murderer from ever killing again. In my view, society has not only the right, but the duty to act in self-defense to protect the innocent.”​

– Prosecuting Attorney, Clark County Indiana, USA

October 14, 2016 in the Province of Isabela, Stella Albino, Four Years of Age, sustained a head injury and had multiple cigarette burns. Her fractured pelvic bones and the laceration on her private part also suggest that the she was raped before she was killed.1

September 28, 2018, Naic, Cavite, Twenty-one years old Mitchie Tolentino Araña was found raped and dead at a creek side, buried in mud covered with banana leaves.2

November 14, 2017, Mabel Cama, A 22-year-old bank employee was found dead and half-naked just meters away from her house in Pasig City. There were also marks on her face, indicating that she might have been struck by a blunt object. Her underwear and shorts were on the ground beside her.3

Nick Russel Oniot, killed at 18 years old after being robbed and stabbed multiple times on his way home in Taguig City the night of October 14, 2016. He was attacked and killed by two drug deranged suspects.4

The Question

Do you believe that the Murderers, Rapists and Torturers of Stella, Mitchie, Mabel, and Nick; and other evil men like them deserve to keep their lives?

Death Penalty through the Years

In the Spanish Period (1521-1898), Spanish colonizers brought with them medieval Europe’s penal system, including executions. During the early Spanish Period Capital punishment took various forms including burning, decapitation, drowning, flaying, garrote, hanging, shooting, stabbing and others. It was enshrined in the 1848 Spanish Codigo Penal and was only imposed on locals who challenged the established authority of the colonizers.

In the American Period (1898-1934), the American colonizers, adopting most of the provisions under the Codigo Penal of 1848, retain the death penalty. The Codigo Penal was revised in 1932. Treason, parricide, piracy, kidnapping, murder, rape, and robbery with homicide were considered capital offenses and warranted the death penalty. The capital punishment continued to be an integral part of the pacification process of the country, to suppress any resistance to American authority.

In the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), there are no recorded or documented cases of executions through the death penalty during this period simply because extrajudicial executions were widely practised as part of the pacification of the country.

During the Post-World War II, Espionage is added to the list of capital offenses. The Anti-Subversion Law called for the death penalty for all Communist leaders. However, no executions were recorded for any captured communist leader. For the period of 1946-1965, 35 people were executed for offenses that the Supreme Court labeled as “crimes of senseless depravity or extreme criminal perversity.”

During the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986), “Deterrence” became the official justification for the imposition of the death penalty. This is the same justification used for the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. The number of capital crimes increased to a total of 24. Some crimes which were made punishable by death through laws and decrees during the Marcos period were subversion, possession of firearms, arson, hijacking, embezzlement, drug-related offenses, unlawful possession of firearms, illegal fishing and cattle rustling.

The last judicial execution under the Marcos years was in October 1976 when Marcelo San Jose was executed by electrocution. Similar to the reasons for the imposition of capital punishment during the Colonial Periods, the death penalty during the Marcos Regime was imposed to quell rebellion and social unrest.

In the Era of President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (1986-1992), The Death Penalty was “abolished” under the 1987 Constitution. The Philippines became the first Asian country to abolish the death penalty for all crimes. All death sentences were reduced to reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. In 1988, the military started lobbying for the imposition of the death penalty for crimes committed by the CPP-NPA.

During the Presidency of Fidel Valdez Ramos (1993-1998), a series of high profile crimes during this period, including the murder of Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez, created public impression that heinous crimes were on the rise. The Ramos administration reimposed the death penalty by virtue of Republic Act No. 7659 in December 1993 to address the rising criminality and incidence of heinous crimes. The Death Penalty Law lists a total of 46 crimes punishable by death; 25 of these are death mandatory while 21 are death eligible. Republic Act No. 8177 mandates that a death sentence shall be carried out through lethal injection.

In the time of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada (1998-2001), Leo Echegaray was executed in February 1999 and was followed by six other executions for various heinous crimes. Estrada issued a de facto moratorium on executions in the face of church-led campaigns to abolish the death penalty and in observance of the Jubilee Year.

After the ousting of Estrada in Malacanang, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-2010), Arroyo publicly stated that she is not in favor of executions, but due to the rise in crimes related to drugs and kidnappings that targeted the Filipino-Chinese community, she announced that she would resume executions “to sow fear into the hearts of criminals.” Arroyo lifted the de facto moratorium issued by Estrada on December 5, 2003. With the amendment of Republic Act No. 8353 (Anti-Rape Law of 1997) and Republic Act No. 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs act of 2002), there are now 52 capital offenses, 30 of which are death mandatory and 22 are death eligible.5 But in June 24, 2006, President Arroyo signed Republic Act No. 9346 or “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines,” which repealed Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law.

The Rate and Murder under the No Death Penalty Society

Rape as defined in the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines is committed By a man who shall have carnal knowledge of a woman through force, threat, or intimidation; When the offended party is deprived of reason or otherwise unconscious; By means of fraudulent machination or grave abuse of authority; and When the offended party is under twelve (12) years of age or is demented, even though none of the circumstances mentioned above be present. By any person who, under any of the circumstances mentioned shall commit an act of sexual assault by inserting his penis into another person’s mouth or anal orifice, or any instrument or object, into the genital or anal orifice of another person.6

While Murder is defined as any person who shall kill another if committed with treachery, taking advantage of 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 a price, reward, or promise; By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other 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.7

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, Reported crimes of Murder and Rape five years (2002-2006) prior the abolition of the Death penalty was 31,967 and 14,140 respectively.[8][9][10][11][12] After the said abolition, Murder and Rape in 2007 to 2011 increased by 20.49% or 38,516 and 44.41% or 20,419 respectively. [13][14][15][16][17] And from 2012 to 2016, Murder increased by 25.51% or 48,340 and Rape by 104.01% or 41,656. [18][19][20][21]

Since the prohibition of the Death Penalty, crimes of Rape and Murder increased drastically. Murder from 2002 to 2006, registered 31,967 reported, but the number increased to 20.49% or 38,516 reported cases in 2007 to 2011, five years after its prohibition. The Murder rate increased continuously from 2012 to 2016 registering at 25.51% or 48,340 cases. While Rape from 2002 to 2006, registered only 14,140 reported cases, but the number soared to 44.41% or 20,419 reported cases in 2007 to 2011, five years after its prohibition. The Rape rate increased radically from 2012 to 2016 registering at 104.01% or 41,656 cases.

With the increasing unlawful killings and sexual assault to innocent lives which can be attributed to the lack of fear in our penal system. It is about time to address and suppress the said anarchistic act and implement the full force of the Revised Penal Code by implementing the Capital Punishment of Death.

Death Penalty as Deterrence

Deterrence is a theory from behavioral psychology about preventing or controlling actions or behavior through fear of punishment or retribution. Deterrence can be divided into two separate categories. General deterrence manifests itself in policy whereby examples are made of deviants. The individual actor is not the focus of the attempt at behavioral change, but rather receives punishment in public view in order to deter other individuals from deviance in the future. While General Deterrence discourage the commission of the crime by showing other persons of its consequences, Specific deterrence focuses on the individual deviant and attempts to correct his or her behavior. Punishment is meant to discourage the individual from recidivating or becoming a recidivist of the crime committed.

With the Death Penalty in effect, persons with tendency to commit heinous crimes against the State or its constituents, will have to consider the consequences first. With the punishment of death, person with criminal minds will think it twice before committing the crime. In addition, publicly televising the execution of criminals will send a chilling effect to persons with criminal tendency that the Government is serious in implementing the laws of the land.

Death Penalty as Punishment

Punishment is defined by Oxford dictionary as the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense. 23

In the Philippines, The Revised Penal Code of 1930 provided us with provisions that penalize certain heinous crimes with death. Since 2002, there are 52 capital offenses, 30 of which are death mandatory and 22 are death eligible. But due to the influence of the Catholic Church to our politician, Republic Act No. 9346 or “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines” was enacted. The said law deprived our justice system to implement the Capital Punishment of the Revised Penal Code.

A punishment is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a particular action or behaviour that is deemed undesirable or unacceptable.24

Introduced by B.F. Skinner, punishment has a more restrictive and technical definition. Along with reinforcement it belongs under the operant conditioning category. Operant conditioning refers to learning with either punishment (often confused as negative reinforcement) or a reward that serves as a positive reinforcement of the lesson to be learned. In psychology, punishment is the reduction of a behavior via application of an unpleasant stimulus (“positive punishment”) or removal of a pleasant stimulus (“negative punishment”). 25

Death Penalty as Retribution

Retribution or Retributive justice is a theory of justice that holds that the best response to a crime is a punishment proportional to the offense, inflicted because the offender deserves the punishment. Prevention of future crimes (deterrence or rehabilitation) of the offender are not considered in determining such punishments. The theory holds that when an offender breaks the law, justice requires that he or she suffer in return. Retribution is different from revenge because retributive justice is only directed at wrongs, has inherent limits, is not personal, involves no pleasure at the suffering of others and employs procedural standards.26

Retributive justice is committed to three principles. 1.) Those who commit certain kinds of wrongful acts, paradigmatically serious crimes, morally deserve to suffer a proportionate punishment. 2.) It is intrinsically morally good—good without reference to any other goods that might arise—if some legitimate punisher gives those who commit certain kinds of wrongful acts, the punishment they deserve. It is morally impermissible intentionally to punish the innocent or to inflict disproportionately large punishments on wrongdoers. 27

In the Philippine context as a family oriented society, the relatives of the victims of these heinous crimes shout for justice for the lost for their family member, and for the suffering of the victim in the hands of these criminals. Death penalty to the perpetrators of heinous crime gives the idea of closure28 to the families of the victims, closure that which they need to move on with their lives, and acceptance of their lost.

Death Penalty as Incapacitation

Incapacitation theory of punishment advocate that offenders should be prevented from committing further crimes either by their (temporary or permanent) removal from society or by some other method that restricts their physical ability to reoffend in some other way. Incarceration is the most common method of incapacitating offenders; however, other, more severe, forms such as capital punishment are also used. The overall aim of incapacitation is to prevent the most dangerous or prolific offenders from reoffending in the community28 The permanent removal of these criminals who committed grave and inhumane crimes disregarding human lives is the best way to ensure the safety and keep the social order in our society. Incapacitation is a reductivist (or “forward looking”) justification for punishment. Reductivism is underpinned by the theory of moral reasoning known as utilitarianism, which maintains that an act is defensible and reasonable if its overall consequences are beneficial to the greatest number of people. Thus, the pain or suffering imposed on an offender through punishment is justified if it reduces or prevents the further harm that would have been caused to the rest of society by the future crimes of that offender.

Death Penalty as Societal Protection

“Introducing the death penalty is not revenge, it is the highest degree of social protection.”

– Vladimir Antyufeyev

Societal protection is a way to control deviance and to protect society by locking up offenders temporarily for a period of time in a prison or permanently by executing via the death penalty.29 In our countries current situation, the government must focus in the protection of the innocent and the law abiding citizen that the perpetrators of heinous crimes. Death penalty is not a revenge on the crimes committed by these evil persons but it is retribution to their acts and protection of the society against their recidivist tendencies and retaliation to the relatives of the victims for bringing them in the court of law.

Conclusion

The capital punishment of Death is not just an act of taking lives. It is an act by the state to show its constituents that it is serious of implementing the laws of the land. It is an act to deterrent criminals and persons with criminal minds, that the Government will not hesitate to take their lives in flagrante delicto or in the court of law. Organized syndicates and Crime lords will not have a chance to be Emperors and Kings inside our Penal System or the New Bilibid Prison if they will face death as soon as the guilty verdict is held by our courts. Sexual predators and perverts will fear the idea of sexually assault anyone once a rapist guilty of rape is dropped and hung on top of a long drop table just like what Singaporeans do on Rapists, Sex offenders, murderers, and drug traffickers in their country. Drug Pushers and Peddlers will think twice if not multiple times before selling drugs in our streets if they know that one way or another, they will face death in the operation against drug war or in the court of law.

In the current situation of our country where the innocent, hard working and law abiding citizen are more scared than the criminals, recidivists and defiant, it is time to bring back the punishment that will protect the innocent and the law abiding. It is time that the State harshly uproot these criminals from our society and terminate them. It is time to abolish Republic Act No. 9346 or “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines,”. It is time for the Murderers, Rapists, Drug Lords, Kidnappers, Plunders, and other evil men face there end. It is time to revive the Capital Punishment in the Philippines. Death Penalty, Its Time.

Footnotes:

  1. 4-year-old Girl Raped, Killed in Isabela, Ivan Abille – https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/10/03/16/4-year-old-girl-raped-killed-in-isabela
  2. Student Raped Then Murdered in Cavite, https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/09/30/student-raped-then-murdered-in-cavite/
  3. Victim Of Druggies? Bank Employee Raped, Killed, Her Body Set on Fire, Jodee Agoncillo – https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/945094/bank-employee-raped-killed-her-body-set-on-fire
  4. Manila Night Prowl: A Bloody End For an Architect-to-be’s Dream
  5. Anjo Bagaoisan – https://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/10/20/16/manila-night-prowl-a-bloody-end-for-an-architect-to-bes-dream
  6. A Timeline Of Death Penalty in the Philippines, http://pcij.org/blog/2006/04/18/a-timeline-of-death-penalty-in-the-philippines
  7. Rape, Revised Penal Code – https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/acts/act_3815_1930.html
  8. Murder, Revised Penal Code – https://www.lawphil.net/statutes/acts/act_3815_1930.html
  9. Philippines in Figure 2004, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2004%20PIF.pdf
  10. Philippines in Figure 2005, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2005%20PIF.pdf
  11. Philippines in Figure 2006, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2006%20PIF.pdf
  12. Philippines in Figure 2007, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2007%20PIF.pdf
  13. Philippines in Figure 2008, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2008%20PIF.pdf
  14. Philippines in Figure 2009, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2009%20PIF.pdf
  15. Philippines in Figure 2010, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2010%20PIF.pdf
  16. Philippines in Figure 2011, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2011%20PIF.pdf
  17. Philippines in Figure 2012, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2012%20PIF.pdf
  18. Philippines in Figure 2013, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2013%20PIF.pdf
  19. Philippines in Figure 2014, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2014%20PIF.pdf
  20. Philippines in Figure 2015, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2015%20PIF.pdf
  21. Philippines in Figure 2016, https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/2016%20PIF.pdf
  22. Punishment | Definition Of Punishment in English By Oxford Dictionaries https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/punishment
  23. Hugo, Adam Bedau (February 19, 2010). “Punishment, Crime and the State”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
  24. Kleining, John (October 1972). “R.S. Peters on Punishment”. British Journal of Educational Studies. 20 (3): 259–69.
  25. Nozick, Robert (1981). Philosophical Explanations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 366–368. ISBN 9780674664791.
  26. Walen, Alec (2015-01-01). Zalta, Edward N., ed. Retributive Justice (Summer 2015 ed.).
  27. Does the Death Penalty Bring Closure To a Victim’s Family?, Laura Santhanam – https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/death-penalty-bring-closure-victims-family
  28. https://marisluste.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/incapacitation-theory.pdf
  29. Societal Protection https://www.sophia.org/tutorials/societal-protection–5

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