As the Philippine Senate revived the debate on capital punishment, the European Union spoke out against it and strongly urged the international community to stop the execution of convicts.
By Camille Diola (philstar.com) | Updated October 10, 2014 – 12:16pm
MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippine Senate revived the debate on capital punishment, the European Union spoke out against it and strongly urged the international community to stop the execution of convicts.
The EU and the Council of Europe declared Friday their commitment to the “worldwide abolition” of death penalty.
“No execution has taken place in our member states in the past 17 years,” the declaration stated, encouraging other European countries to ratify two protocols to the European Convention on Human Rights.
In September, Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III delivered a privilege speech in support of the revival of death penalty in the country purportedly to help address the surging crime rate.
“There are now compelling reasons to do so. The next crime may be nearer to our homes if not yet there,” Sotto said.
The EU, meanwhile, welcomed decisive efforts in other developing countries, particularly in Africa, to abolish death penalty.
“The European Union and Council of Europe call on all Members of the United Nations to support the Resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty which will be put to vote at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2014,” the statement noted.
President Benigno Aquino III, moreover, maintains opposition to capital punishment due to problems it would create in the judicial system.
His spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda, said proposed measures reviving the death penalty assume that the country’s judicial system is “good.”
“But we know for a fact that in our judicial system, in our judicial framework, sometimes those weak legal representation are prejudiced,” Lacierda said in September, reacting to the Sotto’s statements.
On April 2006, the sentences of 1,230 inmates in the death row since 1994 were reduced to life imprisonment after capital punishment was suspended through Republic Act 9346 signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Amnesty International welcomed the move deemed as the “largest ever commutation of death sentences.