“No person shall be deprived of life...without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of law.” (1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, Art. III, Sec. 10)
It is well-acknowledged among civilized Countries the world over that the Right to Life is the most basic human right because without it, all other duly known and accordingly acknowledged human rights become altogether irrelevant for a human being. And considering that the State is basically for the welfare and common good of the people it enfolds and represents, it is a blatant contradiction if the former precisely becomes the mortal liability of the latter not merely in conjunction with the amelioration but specially so for the protection of human life.
This reality becomes even more clarified and emphasized with the constitutional provision that the Philippines is a “democratic and republican State” where “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.” (Art. II, Sec. 1). In fact, the Right to Life” is so precious and sacred that it is likewise considered a gross offence for anyone to do away with his very own life by committing suicide. When killing oneself is already taboo, killing another/others is a bigger malediction.
It is wherefore categorically provided by the same Constitution for the People of the Philippines that depriving someone of his/her life may only be done after due process as provided by law. But then, this provision notwithstanding, in the assumption that due process was observed and the sentence of death penalty was imposed upon the convict, it would not be easy for someone – with normal human sensitivity and sound conscience – to do the hanging, to cut a head, to tighten the guillotine, to pull the trigger or to electrify the condemned. So it was that on the occasion of the last much publicized execution in the Country through the electric chair, no less than three switches were prepared – when only one was needed – so that no one of them would really know who in fact had the convict electrified to death.
Questions: What can be said about the day-in and day-out killings nonchalantly taking place in the Country for the past months to counter the prohibited drug menace? How does one look at the drug buy-bust-kill operations plus summary executions lately taking place in the various parts of the Philippines? Do they promote justice and peace or in effect arouse anger and vengeance? Are they in effect promoting the culture of death that despised life and makes killings but a matter of fact? Is death penalty really acceptable because someone recently quoted the Old Testament – which was but an eclectic citation – promotion thereof?
Millions of Filipinos here and abroad observe a long and happy Christmas Season that commemorates the birth and celebrates the life of Christ. “Mabuhay!” is the welcome shout of Filipinos not only in wishing visitors in the Country but also wishing everybody well. Will the grim culture of death eventually do away with the love and respect for life among Filipinos? Will “Mamatay!” then be the horrible shout of Filipinos among themselves and to foreign visitors as well?