Some people might be wondering what if the administration reinstate death penalty in the Philippines? Will there be peace in the country? Will it end countless crimes in the country? Or will it create a gap and clash between the believers and non-believers of God? Will it form one bloody administration instead ? Will it surely punish those who commit sinful acts? Will there be justice?
There is indeed a lot of ” what if’s” while the lawmakers are still on the process of debating and discussing whether capital punishment should be re-impose in the country’s justice system.
Even if this controversial death penalty bill is still under evaluation it already earned a lot of criticisms from the netizens, most especially from the catholic churches.
However, since President Rodrigo Duterte and some law makers would like to revive the death penalty in the country as a way to strengthen the rule of law. Let’s talk about the history of death penalty in the Philippines.
Here are some facts that you should know about death penalty in the Philippines:
- The Pre-Spanish Filipinos practiced it. During the Spanish period, public executions were executed through firing squad, garrotte (which was done to the Gomburza) and death by hanging . The Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal was also executed by firing squad during the Spanish period.
- Americans taught the Filipinos to use electric chair, making it the Philippines the only country in the world using it that time other than America. Fifty-one persons were sent down using this method until firing squad was brought back in 1976, under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos.
- The last colonial-era execution happened under Governor-General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. in February 1932. While under the administration of the first President of Commonwealth, Manuel L. Quezon there were no execution happened.
- There were a total of 31 executions conducted during the Marcos regime which doesn’t even compare to the 759 involuntary disappearances, there wwere also 800 abductions, 70,000 incarcerated, 35,000 torture victims and 3,257 victims of extrajudicial killings.
- After Marcos dictatorship, death penalty was abolished. This lead to increased crime rate under President Fidel Ramos administration.
- Death penalty was restored again in 1992 through lethal injection. And on 1999 the first execution was made with convict Leo Echegaray after being accused of raping his 10-year old stepdaughter by a former wife.
- Then under the administration of President Gloria Arroyo, death penalty was again abolished in 2006, moving all prisoners in death row to be sentenced for life imprisonment.
- Back in the years when death penalty was still operated, the Philippines had a club of pro-death penalty judges. These people are eager to give out the death penalty and their group was known Guillotine Club, it was founded in 1995 by Quezon City judge Maximiano Asuncion for judges who handed out death sentences.
- Catholic churches was once pro-death penalty. During the Philippine revolution Manila Archbishop Bernardino Nozaleda called the Filipino rebels to be executed by fire, sword and wholesale executions. There is indeed a time when the Catholic churches actively campaign for death penalty which is opposite to what we have right now.
- The Philippines had the world’s second largest death row population among democracies. Of course, United States comes first. Since 1995 until the present time it has an average of 3,000 death row convicts per year.
- Rafael Lacson, Governor of Negros Occidental nearly ended up in the electric chair. He was sentenced to the electrical chair in year 1954 after being found guilty for the murde of Moises Padilla an opposition candidate who ran as a Mayor in the town of Magallon in 1951. But in the end, his death penalty was reduced to life imprisonment due to the needed number of votes coming from the supreme court.
- A sixteen-year old boy, Marcial “baby” Ama was executed before via electric chair after leading one of the jail riots in the history that resulted to the death of nine inmates. Marcial was imposed the death of penalty after finding him guilty for stabbing a man named Almario Bautista.
- In 1993, when President Fidel V. Ramos brought back the death penalty in the country he envision the gas chamber to replace the electric chair. However, the Americans rejected Ramos bid to purchased the materials needed for it. Thus, the law changed again, so instead of gas chamber they changed it to lethal injection as a way of execution in the country.
- Before, there was an instance when a busy phone line resulted to a convicts execution. It was when a rapist named Eduardo Agbayani was scheduled to be executed. Bishop Teodoro Bacani, spiritual adviser of President Joseph Estrada called him and said that Agbayani’s victim which was also his daughter was willing to forgive him. Estrada tried to call to stop the execution however the signal was busy. He managed to conned at around 3:12 pm, unfortunately Agbayani was already executed at 3:11 pm.
Thus, President Duterte and his administration sees death penalty as an asset in reducing crime rate and defeating drug lords. This is still under evaluation yet it many people are already complaining about this most especially the Catholic churches