The proposal to revive capital punishment in the Philippines has the support of many politicians and government agencies. Given the state of safety in Philippine society and the prominence of illegal drugs, the death penalty is being freshly reviewed as a means to deter heinous or grave crimes. According to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the measure will make a positive impact on Philippine society by serving as a strong deterrent for illegal drug traders, users, and pushers.
“Foreign and local drug offenders, especially drug protectors and coddlers who were found guilty of manufacturing, trafficking, and pushing of dangerous drugs, warrant the capital punishment,” PDEA Director General Aaron N. Aquino said in a statement on Wednesday.
According to Aquino, laws should be uncompromising and tough in order for peace to be kept.
“Death penalty, not life imprisonment, must be imposed on all international and local drug traffickers to send a strong message not to turn our country into a business hub for illegal drugs. They tend to capitalize on our laws where the maximum penalty is less harsh,” Aquino said.
The PDEA chief also added that offenders of heinous crimes fueled by illegal drugs also deserve the state-sanctioned execution.
Supporters of the reimposition of the death penalty say that life sentences are not only too lenient a punishment, they are also taxing on Philippine society. Jails are overcrowded and ineffective. Many drug lords continue to be involved in the illegal drug trade, despite their incarceration. Further, taxpayers will need to shell out more and more money to continue to house these criminals.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22, said that the death penalty should be imposed not just on heinous crimes and illegal drug traders, but also on plunderers. According to President Duterte, the drug problem can only be solved by eliminating corruption within the government.
PDEA chief Aquino agreed with the President’s sentiments and expressed his support of the dual-direction to eradicate the drug menace.
“Illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption are social menaces that go hand in hand. Get rid of one problem, the other two can no longer survive,” Aquino said.
“If you have done something evil, you have to pay. We are not promoting a cycle of violence. However, it is morally justified in imposing the death penalty to people who seek to destroy the lives of the Filipinos, most especially our youth,” the PDEA chief stressed.