Beware of bets pushing death penalty, voters told

DETAINED Senator Leila de Lima yesterday warned voters to be wary of politicians using death penalty in their campaign strategy saying this is not the key to deterring heinous crimes.

“Politicians will try to pander with tough talk and promises of harsh punishment against criminals. However, they are all cheap and meaningless if they do not translate to actual arrests, prosecutions and convictions,” she added.

“Criminality is a more complex and nuanced matter than politicians will care to admit. The problem requires a multi-dimensional and multi-level approach considering how aggravating and aggravated the situation is,” she said.

A bill reinstating the death penalty for heinous crimes, including drug-related offenses, has been approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives but has yet to be tackled at the committee level at the Senate.

Undescoring the possibility of judicial error, De Lima said she opposed the imposition of death penalty because “all too often we have seen convictions reversed years later after pieces of evidence have surfaced that would exonerate the accused,” which cannot bring back the life taken away from the falsely convicted.

The Supreme Court in the case of People vs. Mateo in 2004 admitted that a considerable majority of the trial courts had wrongfully imposed the death penalty during the time it was sanctioned as a sentencing option from 1993 to 2004.

De Lima maintained that the imposition of death penalty only targets people from poor families and hardly the rich and powerful.