House reluctant to revive death penalty

DEPUTY Majority Leader Roman Romulo on Sunday said that a large number of House members are not inclined to support the revival of the death penalty due to flaws in the criminal justice system that could lead to mistaken executions.

“The risk of wrongful convictions is unusually high because the pillars of our justice system, particularly the police and the courts, are severely handicapped,” said Romulo.

In life imprisonment, Romulo said a wrongfully convicted person could still be freed even after languishing in prison for years.

He also cited the cases of a whole police precinct linked to the videotaped torture of a suspect and a woman picked up on false charges and then raped at the police district headquarters.

Camp Crame also admitted last week that the many police officers are also inept with four out 10 wanting in basic criminal investigation skills.

The clamor to reinstate the death penalty has resounded amid a fresh crime wave, including the spread of extremely violent motor vehicle theft cases.

Romulo called the crime rash as “a law enforcement problem.”

The certainty of swift punishment is our best deterrence to crime, more than the punishment itself.”

Congress reinstated the death penalty for 13 heinous crimes in 1993, only to abolish it in 2006 due to mounting flaws.

That year, then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban admitted that a “judicial error” caused the mistaken execution of incestuous rape convict Leo Echegaray in 1999.

Panganiban said it was proven during trial that Echegaray was not “a father, stepfather or grandfather” of the victim, and that while the house painter may have been “a common-law spouse of the mother of the victim,” this was never alleged in the complaint. Anthony Vargas


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