We strongly condemn the railroading of House Bill 4727, which plans to reimpose the death penalty, as it was passed on second reading by Congress on its session on March 1.
The controversial and questionable voting that transpired on Ash Wednesday shows how hell-bent and desperate the Duterte administration is to step into fascist territory, without even exhausting debates and arguments and despite the growing discontent of the people.
Death penalty will only exacerbate the already corrupted justice system, where the poor and oppressed languish in jail for trumped-up crimes while the rich, the dictators, fascists and drug lords are coddled. The watering down of the bill to only drug-related crimes shows how it seeks to legalize the president’s ‘war on drugs’ or Oplan Tokhang, which has only been a ‘war on the poor.’
On the other hand, in its bid to consolidate power and quell the increasing dismay of the people, the Duterte administration is swiftly resorting to fascist moves – such as the revival of the ROTC and the Philippine Constabulary, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, and the declaration of an ‘all-out war’ against the New People’s Army.
In fact, even without a legalizing bill, death penalty is already in full swing in the countryside under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Oplan Kapayapaan. Fifteen civilians were killed in February 2017 alone, adding to the casualties and the hundreds of illegal arrests committed by the AFP against progressive leaders and civilians since Duterte started his term last July.
The Duterte administration should be held accountable for its crimes on the people!
Duterte should backtrack on reimposing the death penalty and all-out war, which turns out to be an all-out war against the people.
We call on the youth to mount big protests and mobilizations to call on Duterte to push through with his earlier promises and obligations, and to address the growing poverty and the roots of crime and armed insurgence, rather than killing its victims.
We also call for the resumption of the GRP-NDF peace talks and for the continuation of the discussion on the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms, which pushes for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. These, and not death penalty and fascism, are key in addressing the roots of poverty, criminality, and armed conflict.
Duterte’s incessant killing of innocent civilians will only exacerbate the real ills of society, and fan the flames of the people’s resistance! ###