A cry of desperation, a feeling of frustration, a plea for social order – these in reality are the common denominators of the frantic calls for the imposition of death penalty upon those proven guilty of heinous crimes. And considering that those publicly and loudly advocating death penalty almost infallibly get media attention, there are also indications that there is political mileage gained from a pro-death stance in this Country. The truth is that even Malacanang plays the game.
With weak law enforcement agencies, a dysfunctional justice system plus the great divided between the powerful rich and the helpless poor before the law of the land, how on earth could death penalty be justified? While there are still some capable and upright law enforcement agents, while there are also certain competent and trustworthy members of the judiciary – all of whom look and treat everybody as equal before the law – these valuable public servants are not only relatively few but in fact still becoming fewer during the incumbency of a locally and internationally well acknowledged corrupt and corrupting national leadership.
Criminals in uniform plus hoodlums in robe equal injustice. Power plus corruption equal injustice. Goons with guns plus gold equal injustice. This is basically why all kinds of prisons all over the land are filled with powerless and penniless individuals who are readily caught, ceremoniously tried and immediately convicted. As usual, the well known “big fishes” – much bigger criminals, more lawless characters and antisocial individuals – are all together free to benefit from their gross misdeeds and enjoy life much. These basically unjust realities in the Country are definitely neither the rational nor decent premises of a death penalty.
The claim that death penalty is a deterrent to big crimes is also a big fallacy. If such a claim were true, then: There should be a universal death penalty law to deter all heinous crimes the world over – which is preposterous. There should be no more big crimes in Countries where there is death penalty – which is false. There should be rampant atrocious crimes in Countries that detest death penalty – which is neither true. A credible and effective law enforcement and dependable and trusted justice system – this combination is what deters crimes.
The truth of the matter is that human justice, no matter how strict and proper, nevertheless still remains fallible. And death penalty is so terminal that human life remains ended no matter how well a wrong judgment is subsequently corrected. That is why life imprisonment, no matter how long since inflicted and notwithstanding the prolonged difficulty thereto appended, is nevertheless subject to correction when proven unjustly imposed. How does one correct an execution once already done?
Would that those advocating death penalty are very very certain that they themselves would not be subjected thereto in the event that they are found truly or falsely guilty of heinous crimes in the course of time.
14 January 2009