Press Release
5 August 2020

Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, +639997721233
Karapatan Public Information Desk, ‪+639189790580‬

Karapatan: Death penalty a legislative fiat for Duterte’s kill, kill, kill policy vs the poor, rights defenders

As the House of Representatives Committee on Justice hears the proposed bills for the reimposition of capital punishment or the death penalty for drug-related offenses and other heinous crimes, human rights watchdog Karapatan asserted that any measure seeking to revive death penalty, if passed into law, “would only be a legislative fiat for this murderous regime’s rabid kill, kill, kill policy against the poor and human rights defenders.”

“It’s simply ironic for a regime hellbent on killing to reimpose death penalty when it is already leading a bloody campaign of mass murder against the poor and the marginalized in the name of the sham war on drugs and against activists in its so-called counterinsurgency campaigns. Are the thousands of dead bodies and broken families still not enough for this fascist regime’s murderous rampage? When will the killings stop?” Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor asked.

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address last July 27, called on Congress for the swift passage of a law reimposing death penalty through lethal injection for offenses under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. Twelve bills seeking to revive capital punishment are currently pending before the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, with some bills specifying any of the following methods in carrying out the death sentence through lethal injection, hanging, or firing squad.

Clamor said that death penalty “is cruel, brutal, deliberately violative of international human rights instruments such as the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ineffective in deterring the crimes it seeks to punish; the death penalty will victimize the most vulnerable in the country and it can and will be weaponized against imprisoned human rights defenders, activists, and political dissenters — many of whom are falsely charged with serious and heinous crimes.”

In a position paper submitted before the House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Karapatan cited local and international studies which show that “death penalty disproportionately impacts on the poor sectors in Philippine society who were in death row due to various economic and social drivers” and that “what has been clearly illustrated in several studies, research, and surveys is the assertion that capital punishment simply does not effectively deter crimes.”

“In a bankrupt and corrupt justice system that favors the moneyed and powerful, death penalty will only increase the fascist attacks against the poor and political dissenters and allow them to be committed with even more impunity. Under such a system, the death penalty, contrary to assertions that it seeks to protect human life, is actually a heinous violation of the right to life and the absolute prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment,” the Karapatan officer continued.

“Karapatan strongly asserts that the reimposition of death penalty in a bankrupt criminal justice system such as ours will not and will never curb nor eliminate crimes in the country — and only when the underlying and systemic causes of crime are addressed with significant and comprehensive social, economic, and political reforms that uphold people’s rights and welfare can crimes actually be reduced or eliminated,” he ended. ###

*Attached is a copy of Karapatan’s position paper submitted to the House of Representatives Committee on Justice today, August 5.


Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.