On 3rd reading of death penalty bill: Filipino youth condemns all-out offensive against the people

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As House Bill 4727, the Death Penalty Bill, is set to pass its third and final reading today, March 7, KABATAAN Party-list joins the Filipino youth and students in reiterating their strong condemnation on the anti-people and fascist measure as they troop the gates of Congress on the same day.

“We gravely condemn this all-out offensive against the people! Death penalty will only exacerbate the already corrupted and skewed 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,” Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said.

“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 heightening fascist moves,” Elago added, referring to moves such as the revival of the ROTC and the Philippine Constabulary, the lowering of the minimum age of criminal responsibility, the impending political rehabilitation of the Marcoses, and the declaration of an ‘all-out war’ against the Filipino people. Elago also adds the anti-poor ‘war on drugs’ is expected to worsen on its resumption as ‘Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded.’

“Even without a legalizing bill, death penalty is already in full swing in the countryside under the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Oplan Kapayapaan and all-out war,” Elago added.

According to data from human rights group Karapatan, 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.

Early this month, among the most recent victims of summary killings include Dreyfuss Perlas, a barrio doctor, and Ramon and Leonela Pesadilla, anti-mining activists from Compostela Valley.

“The Duterte administration should be held accountable for its crimes and attacks on the people! Duterte insists on touting death penalty as the ‘change’ that is coming, while conveniently hiding its irresponsibility and grave negligence in addressing the real roots behind the growing prevalence of poverty and crime, such as contractualization and the worsening neoliberal policies on education and trade,” Elago said.

“While backtracking on his earlier election promises to end contractualization and exploitation, among others, he is quick to railroad worsening fascist and neoliberal attacks of the people,” Elago added.

Kabataan Party-list calls on the Filipino youth, students and people to mount protests and mobilizations to register their condemnation against Duterte’s looming fascist and anti-people measures, and call on Duterte push through with his earlier promises and obligations.

The youth party also calls for the resumption of the GRP-NDF peace talks, especially the continuation of the discussion on the proposed Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER). The CASER contains provisions for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization as the key to addressing the roots of poverty, criminality, and armed conflict.

“Duterte’s incessant killing of civilians will only worsen the real ills of society, and fan the flames of the people’s resistance!,” Elago ended.

Elago calls on the Filipino youth to register their protest on the International Working Women’s Day celebration on March 8, and on a nationwide protest against state fascism on March 21. ###