CHR: Crimes must be punished but value of right to life should not diminish

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it continues to extend its offer to the government, especially to lawmakers, “to engage in a frank and factual discussion on the ineffectiveness of death penalty in addressing crimes.”

“We believe that crimes must be punished, but measures to exact accountability for the faults committed should not diminish the value of the right to life,” CHR said in a statement.

It added that it is important to address issues that push people into committing crimes, rather than chasing interventions when offences have already happened.

“The Commission also wishes to stress that any moves to reinstate capital punishment in the country conflicts with the tenets of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the Philippines ratified in 2007 under the former presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” CHR said.

“By signing the said international statute, the Philippines vowed to take all necessary measures to abolish death penalty in the country and prevent any execution. The Philippines did not also express reservation when it ratified the Second Optional Protocol; hence, cannot claim exception,” it added.

“Our call is for the government to further study this proposal, mindful of its international commitments and mandate to protect the rights of all Filipinos. The task before the government is to also work on institutionalising restorative justice, which employs a more holistic approach to addressing crime, rather than merely imposing punishment,” it added.