Press Release
May 17, 2006

To be merged with other senators bills and up for plenary discussions

Senate Bill 694 of Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, is on its way to be approved into law. The said bill will be merged with similar bills authored by other senators and is set to be sponsored for plenary discussions.

Villar-authored Senate Bill 694 seeks to provide for the imposition of the penalty of reclusion perpetua instead of the death penalty in cases where the law prescribes the death penalty and for other purposes.

Death, as a penalty for crime, has no place in a society that claims to strongly uphold freedom and human rights, cites Villar on his bill.

During the hearing of the Senate Justice Committee on Tuesday (May 16), its Chairman, Senator Joker Arroyo cited that his committee will prepare the report consolidating Senate Bills 694 of Villar, 226 of Senator Serge Osmea and 1143 of Senator Nene Pimentel.

The consolidated version of the bills is set for plenary discussion anytime soon. To recall, last month on Easter Sunday, President Arroyo commuted to life imprisonment the death sentence of over a thousand convicts. Malacañang has also certified as urgent all bills calling for the abolition of death penalty.

The death penalty, besides being inhuman and cruel, has never proven to deter crimes more effectively than other punishments. For countries with perverted justice system, the said penalty might even be imposed on the innocent, further cites Villar.

Based on the presentation of Mamamayang Tutol sa Bitay-Movement for Restorative Justice (MTB-MRJ) and PHILRIGHTS, the abolition of death penalty is already a worldwide trend, with 88 countries and territories which have already abolished death penalty for all crimes.

There are 37 countries that have retained death penalty in law but have not carried out executions for a decade or more. Also, there are 10 countries which have abolished death penalty for all except exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes.

According to Villar, If the abolition of the death penalty will be passed into law, thereby repealing Republic Act (RA) 7659, the Philippines is set to become the first country in Asia to abolish death penalty.

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