The law that kills is dead. Life has triumphed. Ethics prevailed. Truth is out. The Filipino national shout rings true once again: Mabuhay!
The victory may not be claimed by any organization or institution. It rightfully belongs to humanity, to civilization, to reason. The government has the authority to impose punishment on convicted criminals and other enemies of society desirous of living in justice and having peace. But the government has no right to take the life of human persons by death penalty. And there are good reasons in support of this fundamental reality and truth.
The life of any human person is not given by the government, is not owned by the government, and may not be wherefore taken away by the government. To rule on human rights and human freedom does not include killing the human life wherefrom such rights and freedom emanate.
Furthermore, human justice is not always just. This is especially true in this country where the ignorant, the poor and the helpless do not only have less in life but also less in law. Those condemned to death by the courts of the land by and large come from practically those living in poverty and want.
Finally, it has been empirically established that death penalty does not guarantee less criminality. It is enough to be aware of how many murders and massacres and rapes, robberies and kidnappings and drug trafficking—and a host of other crimes—happening in the country during these days in particular and all these grave social maladies take place inspite of the odious death penalty law.
With the abolition of death penalty, criminals will continue to be around and crimes will continue to happen. But his is definitely not due to the repeal of the law—but rather on account of evil human tendencies, due to weak police work, because of the slow wheel of justice if not triumph of injustice.
It is difficult to buy the idea that there is an altogether free and deliberate option between to kill or to spare life. The Senate and the Hose made only ethical reflection and made the only moral judgment on the issue: choose life or death.
7 June 2006