1. The Constitution provides that, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws” (Sec. 1, ART. III).
2. “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. Any death penalty already imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua.” (Sec. 19 , ibid.).
3. In other words, under the Due Process Clause, the rule is: A PERSON MAY BE DEPRIVED OF LIFE PROVIDED THERE IS DUE PROCESS OF LAW.
This has been the consistent rule since the 1935, 1973 and the 1986 (Freedom) Constitutions.
4. However, the 1987 Constitution introduced a novel modification which provides that, as a general rule, THE DEATH PENALTY SHALL NOT BE IMPOSED, with respect to which the Congress may provide for exceptions based on COMPELLING REASON INVOLVING HEINOUS CRIME.
5. According to the sponsors of the modification, all they are saying is THE JUDGES CANNOT IMPOSE DEATH PENALTY (BERNAS, The Intent of the 1986 Constitution Writers; 1995 ed., p. 229). Ratio for abolition
6. According to Commissioner Joaquin Bernas:
“My recollection on this is that there was a division in the Committee not on whether the death penalty should be abolished or not, but rather on whether the abolition should be done by the Constitution – in which case it cannot be restored by the legislature – or left to the legislature. The majority voted for the constitutional abolition of the death penalty. And the reason is that capital punishment is inhuman for the convict and his family who are traumatized by the waiting, even if it is never carried out. There is no evidence that the death penalty deterred deadly criminals, hence, life should not be destroyed just in the hope that other lives might be saved. Assuming mastery over the life of another man is just too presumptuous for any man. The fact that the death penalty as an institution has been there from time immemorial should not deter us from reviewing it. Human life is more valuable than an institution intended precisely to serve human life. So, basically, this is the summary of the reasons which were presented in support of the constitutional abolition of the death penalty.” (BERNAS, ibid.)
7. What is death penalty ? It is “(T)he extreme penalty for the commission of a crime, to be executed within the manner provided by statute, such as hanging, electrocution, or asphyxiation by gas” (Ballentine’s Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.). It is the “(S)upreme penalty exacted as punishment for murder and other capital crimes; held not to be, under all circumstances, cruel and unusual punishment within prohibitions of 8th and 14th Amendments, US Constitution” (Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed.).
8. What does the term ‘impose’ mean? “To place a burden upon a person” (Ballentine’s Law Dictionary, id.).
9. A distinction must be made between existence and imposition. The death penalty continues to exist under the 1987 Constitution, but its imposition has been prohibited, subject to certain exceptions.
10. Thus, while the penalty exists, it cannot, as a general rule, be imposed.
11. The statutory existence subsists, but the judicial imposition is proscribed. The constitutional prohibition therefore appears to be addressed to the judiciary, not Congress. Hence, it would seem that the Congress may validly defy the curious prohibition, and justify such act on the basis of the established rule under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights.
12. Under Section 1 of the Bill of Rights, the death penalty may be imposed, provided the procedure established by law is faithfully followed. But under Section 19, a strangely contrary rule is made, that is, death penalty shall not be imposed, even if due process of law is faithfully observed.
13. The exception to the strange rule refers to an equally strange and intriguing standard, which refers to “compelling reasons involving heinous crimes”.
14. It would thus appear that if the reasons are not compelling, even if heinous crimes are involved, the exception will not apply. On the other hand, if the compelling reasons involve crimes that are not considered heinous, the exception will also not apply. Finally, even if there are compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, but the Congress does not enact the corresponding implementing statute, the exception, again, would not apply. Thus, the exception appears deceiving and actually unreal.
15. It does not seem reasonable to prohibit judges – who are bound by strict rules of criminal due process which normally takes months or years to complete – from imposing the death penalty provided in criminal laws, and at the same time, legally allow a police officer to impose instant death penalty with his service firearm – which normally takes a mere split-second decision to make.
16. For those who violate the law, there will always be lawyers they can hire to defend them in court. For those who violate the Constitution, there will always be lawyers they can hire to defend their rights in court. But for those who violate common sense, no lawyer can defend them before the bar of sovereign public opinion. Senators react to calls to impose death penalty, total gun ban http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/01/07/894275/senators-react-calls-impose-death-penalty-total-gun-ban (philstar.com) | Updated January 7, 2013 - 3:20pm
MANILA, Philippines - Senators on Monday gave mixed reactions to proposals for a total gun ban and for the re-imposition of death penalty in the country.
Sen. Francis Escudero said in a statement that the re-imposition of death penalty will not deter heinous crimes in the country.
"The death penalty will not stop miscreants from carrying out their crimes. I have always said that it is still the certainty of punishment, not its severity, that will deter crimes," Escudero said.
The senator supports President Benigno Aquino III's position against calls for the re-imposition of the death penalty, which were revived after the bloody shooting in Kawit, Cavite on Friday.
The blooding shooting involving a suspected drug addict came amid an intensifying debate on the imposition of gun control measures in the country, which was sparked by the death of stray bullet victim, seven-year-old Stephanie Nicole Ella.
"Even if the death penalty is in place, criminals, especially the moneyed ones, will still find creative ways to escape the arms of the law. The likes of Jovito Palparan, charged with a non-bailable offense, the Reyes brothers of Palawan accused as master minds in the death of a journalist and environmental advocate, and Delfin Lee, said to have bilked thousands of poor housing aspirants, where are they? They can afford to hire good, expensive lawyers to keep them out of jail and outside the reach of the law," Escudero said. Death penalty not solution against criminality—De Lima
By Tetch Torres
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/302724/death-penalty-not-solution-against-criminality-de-lima 7:52 pm | Tuesday, November 6th, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – Death penalty is not the solution against criminality, Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said Tuesday following calls to reinstate the death sentence after the gruesome killing of a 20 year old cum laude from the University of Sto. Tomas. “As a human rights advocate, I’ve always been against the reimposition of the death penalty. My current role as Secretary of Justice does not at all change my position on the issue,” De Lima said at a text message to reporters. “Death penalty is not the solution to criminality. What deters criminality is faithful and diligent enforcement of laws and due administration of the criminal justice system without fear or favour,” she said. The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption said the death penalty should be restored after Cyrish Magalang, a tourism student from UST was stabbed to death by two sspects, brothers, who have been arrested. Republic Act 7659 or the Death Penalty Law was repealed by Republic Act 9346 or the Law Prohibiting the Imposition of Death Penalty in the Philippines. Under the law, those convicted of heinous crimes shall be meted with the penalty of reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of up to 40 years and will not be eligible for parole. Aquino against death penalty
http://www.rappler.com/nation/19230-aquino-still-against-death-penalty by Rappler.com
Posted on 01/06/2013 3:14 PM | Updated 01/06/2013 8:47 PM MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III has not changed his position on death penalty in spite of more calls for capital punishment to be reinstated for certain crimes, the Palace said on Sunday, January 6. "The position of the President as far as the death penalty is concerned has not changed. He is not for the death penalty," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte noted during a radio interview. Valte insisted that Aquino believes the current laws should be enough to deter criminals, even after the shooting rampage in Cavite that left 8 dead and 9 wounded on Friday, January 4. "The position of the President always when it comes to any form of crime is to deter. The effective deterrent of crime would be the knowledge that there will be certainty of punishment," she said. Certainty of punishment, according to Valte, is the best deterrent to crime. "A person should think, 'I shouldn't do this because I will definitely be caught and imprisoned,'" she said in Filipino. - Rappler.com Yes to Death Penalty in the Philippines
By Capulong1, Mar 2013
http://www.studymode.com/essays/Yes-To-Death-Penalty-In-The-1498481.html Yes to Death Penalty in the Philippines
Every second, a case is happening in any part of the country and even of the whole world. Justice is most of the time questioned by many people or should I say by everyone. This brings problems or agonies especially to the side of the victims. Death penalty utilizes electric chair wherein the proven suspect or criminal is placed and be put into death through the use of electricity in just a matter of seconds. A catholic country like Philippines observes strictly morality. It is indeed a very difficult decision in my part as a teenager since my parents always tell me how important and sacred life is. But, staying aware with the increasing number of crimes that are not yet solved, triggers me to agree with death penalty. I do believe it is already the right time to start doing something that goes beyond things we got used to. If in case that, this is not accepted or actualized, I wish more a revision or new update of our constitutional laws. Like, the year of age of those who can be imprisoned after being proven that he or she is guilty of a crime. Nowadays, even 10 years old below are already committing violations but not given corresponding sanctions. As a result, they feel so free doing things even against human and God’s laws. With this, I do believe it is time for our leaders to be firm with their decisions and actions.