10/22/2020, 13.42
PHILIPPINES
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CHR survey shows support for the death penalty among Filipinos

by Kenneth Corbilla

The feeling of insecurity and concerns over victimisation by crime are the main factors underpinning support for the reintroduction of the death penalty. Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished the death penalty in 2006. In his fifth State of the Nation address last July, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Philippine Congress to reintroduce it.

Manila (AsiaNews) – Research by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) shows that Filipinos support the reintroduction of the death penalty in the country.

The study, titled Defense of the Right to Life: Analyzing Factors Affecting Filipino Opinion About Death Penalty, found that Filipinos feel safer from crime if criminals are punished with the death penalty.

At a press conference marking the 18th World Day Against the Death Penalty, Mae Labucay, co-author of the study, said that "people would like to feel safe and are worried of being victimised by crime. This is why they support the death penalty.”

The CHR carried out the research in cooperation with the Social Weather System (SWS). Some 2,000 randomly selected participants across the country, aged 15 and up, took part in the study.

According to CHR chief Gwendolyn Gana, the survey was conducted to obtain scientific evidence about Filipinos’ sense of safety.

For Labucay, media have an effect on people pushing for the death penalty. Research found that crimes highlighted in the media can spark fear and anger in people.

“The media just emphasise the crime and not whether justice has been achieved,” she explained.

They focus on crimes, not on perpetrators who are caught or jailed.  This is what makes people fear for their own safety; they see crimes occurring in the absence of proper law enforcement.

She added that if the country had a good justice system and if law enforcement was done rigorously, fears over safety would lessen. Proper law enforcement would stop people from committing crimes.

In line with this, the CHR strongly reiterated its opposition to any form of the death penalty. “In whatever form, we are against the death penalty. Lethal injection or any other form they may suggest,” the CHR said.

Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo abolished the death penalty in 2006. In his fifth State of the Nation address last July, incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte asked the Philippe Congress to reimpose it.

Catholic social doctrine affirms the sacredness of life and protecting life is one of its central tenets.

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