Press Release
February 22, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today urged leaders of both chambers of Congress to put the bill repealing the death penalty in the list of priority legislative measures following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyos pronouncement that she was ready to certify it as urgent.

Pimentel said the death penalty law has long become a dead law in view of the Presidents refusal to implement it.

Moreover, he said the abolition of the death penalty has the support of majority of senators and congressmen who are convinced that crimes can be deterred more decisively by efficient law enforcement.

Pimentel, principal author of the bill repealing the death penalty, said the execution of condemned criminals has no place in a civilized society.

It is a barbaric and unChristian form of punishment which does not conform to the constitutional mandate prohibiting unusually cruel ways of penalizing criminal offenders, he said.

If the countrys Constitution and laws prohibit the cutting of ones leg or hand and other inhuman forms of punishment, Pimentel said the more there is no justification for snuffing out ones life.

Pimentel said it is ridiculous to maintain the death penalty law in the countrys statute books when nobody has been executed because of the stand of the political leadership that it is the wrong approach to punishing criminal offenders.

More than 1,500 criminals have been meted out death sentence since the law restoring capital punishment took effect.

Pimentel said the death penalty law should have long been repealed. But he said such action has not prospered because of the lack of political will on the part of President Arroyo to scrap the dead law.

He said non-implementation of the death penalty law has put Mrs. Arroyo in a ridiculous position because she is constitutional mandated to enforce all the laws of the land.

By repealing this law, Pimentel said the President will be spared from an awkward situation where she has to repeatedly grant a reprieve to death row convicts who are due for execution in defiance of an existing law.

He said the President has become the object of constant attacks by anti-crime watch groups for breaking her promise to execute death convicts, specially kidnappers and drug lords.

Pimentel explained that the repeal of the death penalty law does not mean that convicted criminals will go unpunished. He said it only means that the maximum punishment for heinous crimes will be reduced to life imprisonment.

He said this will apply to those who have been given death sentence prior to the possible repeal of the law.

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