Press Release
March 15, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called for the support of senators and congressmen for the repeal of the law imposing the death penalty for heinous crimes.

Pimentel said a review and possible abolition of the death penalty by Congress are very timely in the light of strong sentiments among government policy-makers and law enforcement officials that the execution of convicted criminals has been prove to be ineffective in deterring crimes.

I have backed the abolition of the death penalty because it is really contradictory to the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment that is embodied in the Constitution, he told a public forum on the death penalty at the Ambrocio Padilla room of the Philippine Senate building, Pasay City.

Why are the arms of thieves not allowed to be cut it is cruel and unusual. Why cant you cut off the limbs of the kidnappers? because it is cruel and unusual. Why would it not be cruel and unusual if you cut off the life of the offender. It is as simple as that, the minority leader added.

Pimentel cited new developments in the United States in which the constitutionality and wisdom of the death penalty is being challenged before the US Supreme Court and which are relevant to the situation in the Philippines.

He said a death convict named Michael Morales was supposed to be executed by lethal injection in San Quintin, California last Feb. 22. But he said the execution was cancelled after the doctors who were supposed to administer the lethal injection refused to do so.

The doctors said their Hippocratic Oath contradicts the role they were expected to play in the execution of a human being. They said they were sworn to uphold life and, therefore, we cannot do this thing for the state, Pimentel said.

He said the US Supreme Court had to stop into the case to settle the controversy.

Only recently, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared her readiness to certify the bill repealing capital punishment.

Pimentel said that although the Senate Bill No. 1143 is supported by majority of the senators, the Senate committee on justice and human rights has not yet reported out the measure. He said that he understands that a counterpart bill in the House of Representatives has the support of more than a hundred congressmen.

Under the Pimentel bill repealing the death penalty, the maximum punishment for those who committed heinous crimes will be downgraded to life imprisonment.

The bill provides that all death penalty sentences meted out by the courts will be automatically lowered to life imprisonment.

Pimentel said the death penalty has been abolished in most countries of the world because they subscribe to the modern concept of penology that convicts should be rehabilitated and given a chance to return to the mainstream of society.

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