Death Penalty is undoubtedly one of the most controversial issues as of today. The perennial debacle whether the aforementioned capital punishment does more harm than good or the other way around has long been haunting the minds of every single Filipino especially when it was brought back to public discussion by President Rodrigo Duterte after being abolished in 2006 by the Arroyo administration reducing it into reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. The reinstatement is still now being deliberated in the Senate being favored by the majority. This article aims to explore perspectives from both affirmative and negative sides.
- It deters crime
People are inherently afraid of death as a consequence. Everything we do in one way or another related to self-preservation whether it be taking care of our health or avoiding dangerous situations. Once death becomes the direct penalty of heinous crimes, people will be forced to think about the risk that this poses to their own lives. Many times, the reason why people commit crimes is to enjoy the benefits of them in the future. This is evident especially in cases of graft and corruption. The imposition of the death penalty makes people afraid to commit the crime because once they do, they will either be caught and put to death or they will forever live in fear of being found.
- It is the only just punishment
This type of punishment will not simply be applied to every crime under the sun. Death will only be a consequence of such heinous crimes that have done a severe amount of damage. These crimes may include mass murder, terrorism, graft, and corruption. In our current criminal justice system, the penalties for a certain crime are always proportionate to the gravity of the crime committed. That’s why the penalty for petty theft is different from armed robbery. In the instances of heinous crimes where so many lives have already been destroyed, no other penalty or punishment is commensurate to the gravity of the harm done. Death is the gravest penalty we have and it should be applied to the most terrible crimes committed.
- It favors the wealthy and hurts the poor
Currently, our justice system is extremely flawed because of the systematic problems of corruption and the lack of access to adequate legal protection. The system currently favors individuals who have the connections to get out of jail and the resources to get the best lawyers to ensure their protection. The poor on the other hand, are more likely to get harsher penalties because they don’t have access to the same protections. More often than not, rich and well-connected criminals will escape justice and the poor will be stuck with the help of public attorneys who are already overworked swamped with so many other cases that they handle. They don’t have as much time and resources in comparison expensive private lawyers and legal teams. This makes it more likely that the poor will end up being convicted and sentenced to death.
- It doesn’t deter crime
People who commit heinous crimes already take measures to not get caught. It isn’t that they aren’t afraid of the consequences that are already in place, but that they pre-meditate their crimes and don’t even intend to get caught. To them, the consequence is out of the equation. In trying to deter crime, you have to target the reasons for doing the crime itself like the lack of checks and balances in the government. Even if the death penalty is implemented, the reasons that make people commit crimes will still exist. It is a problem-solution mismatch and will not end up helping deter or prevent crimes from happening.