Updated Mar 17, 2019, 9:44:46 PM
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 17) — Two senatorial aspirants on Sunday called for the reimposition of the death penalty for errant police officers and corrupt government officials.
Former Biliran Representative Glenn Chong said he is for the death penalty for heinous crimes. He also said public officers and persons in authority have to face capital punishment for their crimes, citing the killing of his former aide Richard Santillan as basis for his stand.
"Hindi ko talaga mapatawad ang mga pulis na gumawa nito kay Richard Santillan. The fact that they tortured him mercilessly, they deserve the death penalty. Kahit pa heneral ka, colonel ka," he said during CNN Philippines' senatorial forum.
[Translation: I cannot forgive the policemen who did this to Richard Santillan. The fact that they tortured him mercilessly, they deserve the death penalty. Even if you're a general or a colonel.
Santillan was killed in an alleged shooutout with the police on December 2018. Police said the former aide was involved in the illegal drug trade, but Chong believes the operation was politically-motivated, insisting he was the target of the police operation.
Toti Casiño, Chong's partymate under the Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino, said plunderers should face the death penalty for stealing the country's funds.
"If you want to fight corruption, sampolan mo ang mga plunderers. Itong mga senador na ninakawan ang kaban ng bayan, sila dapat ang mabitay at malaman na tayo ay seryoso," he said.
[Translation: If you want to fight corruption, make an example out of plunderers. These senators who stole from the national treasury, they should be sentenced to death to know that we are serious.]
Meanhwhile, senatorial hopeful Lawin Arellano said there is no proof that death penalty deters criminals from committing heinous crimes. He added that most of these crimes are related to poverty, saying the government must focus on eradicating poverty. He also said death penalty does not solve the root of the problem.
"We have to value life. Hindi mo na mare-rehabilitate kung pinatay mo na [You cannot rehabilitate if you already killed] with the use of state power," he said.
Katipunan ng Kamalayang Kayumanggi bet Richard Alfajora said justice reform is necessary, not the reimposition of the death penalty.
There are at least eight bills pending in the Senate which seek to bring back death penalty, including those filed by Sotto and Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, Sherwin Gatchalian and Manny Pacquiao.
Lawmakers and President Rodrigo Duterte see death penalty as a deterrent to crimes, but the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has said that capital punishment does not lower crime rates.
The 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty but allowed Congress to bring it back for heinous crimes. It was brought back under the administration of President Fidel Ramos and abolished again under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III earlier urged voters to elect senatorial candidates who favor capital punishment following the brutal slay of Cebu teen Christine Silawan.