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Submitted by:
TAN, Alexis Vianca
TECSON, Francinette
UBANA, Carl Jason
VERSOZA, Anjelica


As far back as the Ancient Laws of China, the death penalty has been established as a
punishment for crimes. In the 18th Century BC, the Code of King Hammurabi of Babylon
codified the death penalty for twenty five different crimes, although murder was not one of
them. The first death sentence historically recorded occurred in 16th Century BC Egypt where
the wrongdoer, a member of nobility, was accused of magic, and ordered to take his own life.
During this period non-nobility was usually killed with an ax.
In the 14th Century BC, the Hittite Code also prescribed the death penalty. The 7th
Century BC Draconian Code of Athens made death the penalty for every crime committed. In
the 5th Century BC, the Roman law of the Twelve Tablets codified the death penalty. Again, the
death penalty was different for nobility, freemen and slaves and was punishment for crimes
such as the publication of libels and insulting songs, the cutting or grazing of crops planted by a
farmer, the burning of a house or a stack of corn near a house, cheating by a patron of his
client, perjury, making disturbances at night in the city, willful murder of a freeman or a parent,
or theft by a slave. Death was often cruel and included crucifixion, drowning at sea, burial alive,
beating to death, and impalement (often used by Nero). The Romans had a curious punishment
for parricides (murder of a parent): the condemned was submersed in water in a sack, which
also contained a dog, a rooster, a viper and an ape. The most notorious death execution in BC
was about 399 BC when the Greek philosopher Socrates was required to drink poison for heresy
and corruption of youth
Mosaic Law codified many capital crimes. In fact, there is evidence that Jews used many
different techniques including stoning, hanging, beheading, crucifixion (copied from the
Romans), throwing the criminal from a rock, and sawing asunder. The most infamous execution
of history occurred approximately 29 AD with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ outside Jerusalem.
About 300 years later, the Emperor Constantine, after converting to Christianity, abolished
crucifixion and other cruel death penalties in the Roman Empire. In 438, the Code of
Theodosius made more than 80 crimes punishable by death.
Britain influenced the colonies more than any other country and has a long history of
punishment by death. About 450 BC, the death penalty was often enforced by throwing the
condemned into a quagmire. By the 10th Century, hanging from gallows was the most frequent
execution method. William the Conqueror opposed taking life except in war, and ordered no
person to be hanged or executed for any offense. However, he allowed criminals to be
mutilated for their crimes. During the middle ages, capital punishment was accompanied by
torture. Most barons had a drowning pit as well as gallows and they were used for major as
well as minor crimes. For example, in 1279, two hundred and eighty nine Jews were hanged for
clipping coin. Under Edward I, two gatekeepers were killed because the city gate had not been
closed in time to prevent the escape of an accused murderer. Burning was the punishment for

women's high treason and men were hanged, drawn and quartered. Beheading was generally
accepted for the upper classes. One could be burned for marrying a Jew. Pressing became the
penalty for those who would not confess to their crimes. The executioner placed heavy weights
on the victim's chest. On the first day he gave the victim a small quantity of bread, on the
second day a small drink of bad water, and so on until he confessed or died. Under the reign of
Henry VIII, the numbers of those put to death are estimated as high as 72,000. Boiling to death
was another penalty approved in 1531, and there are records to show some people boiled for
up to two hours before death took them. When a woman was burned, the executioner tied a
rope around her neck when she was tied to the stake. When the flames reached her she could
be strangled from outside the ring of fire. However, this often failed and many were literally
burnt alive.
In Britain, the number of capital offenses continually increased until the 1700's when
two hundred and twenty-two crimes were punishable by death. These included stealing from a
house in the amount of forty shillings, stealing from a shop the value of five shillings, robbing a
rabbit warren, cutting down a tree, and counterfeiting tax stamps. However, juries tended not
to convict when the penalty was great and the crime was not. Reforms began to take place. In
1823, five laws passed, exempting about a hundred crimes from the death [penalty]. Between
1832 and 1837, many capital offenses were swept away. In 1840, there was a failed attempt to
abolish all capital punishment. Through the nineteenth and twentieth centurys, more and more
capital punishments were abolished, not only in Britain, but also all across Europe, until today
only a few European countries retain the death penalty.
On Crimes and Punishment, published in English in 1767 by the Italian jurist Cesare
Beccaria, whose exposition on abolishing capital punishment was the most influential of the
time, had an especially strong impact. He theorized that there was no justification for the taking
of life by the state. He said that the death penalty was "a war of a whole nation against a
citizen, whose destruction they consider as necessary, or useful to the general good." He asked
the question what if it can be shown not to be necessary or useful? His essay conceded that the
only time a death was necessary was when only one's death could insure the security of a
nation -- which would be rare and only in cases of absolute anarchy or when a nation was on
the verge of losing its liberty. He said that the history of using punishment by death (e.g., the
Romans, 20 years of Czaress Elizabeth) had not prevented determined men from injuring
society and that death was only a "momentary spectacle, and therefore a less efficacious
method of deterring others, than the continued example of a man deprived of his liberty...."


The imposition of the death penalty in the country has had a repressive history. For the
most part (from 1848 to 1987), it was used to curtail the liberties, freedoms and rights of the
Filipino people. In recent history, however, the death penalty was reimposed as a knee-jerk
response to what has largely been seen as rising criminality in the country.
During the Spanish period, colonizers brought with them medieval Europes penal
system, including executions. Capital punishment during the early Spanish Period took various
forms including burning, decapitation, drowning, flaying, garrote, hanging, shooting, stabbing
and others. Capital punishment was enshrined in the 1848 Spanish Codigo Penal and was only
imposed on locals who challenged the established authority of the colonizers. Between 18401857, recorded death sentences totaled 1,703 with 46 actual executions. Filipinos who were
meted the death penalty include Magat Salamat (1587); the native clergies Gomez, Burgos and
Zamora who were garroted in 1872; and Dr. Jose Rizal, executed on December 30, 1896. All of
them are now enshrined as heroes.
Capital punishment was first abolished in the Philippines in 1987 through changes to the
Constitution; it was the first country in Asia to abolish capital punishment. It was reinstated in
December 1993 through Republic Act No. 7659, which allowed capital punishment for "heinous
crimes" following claims of a national crime spree. In 1999 the lethal injection was approved as
the method of execution through Republic Act No. 8177. On March 24, 2000 President Joseph
Estrada called for a moratorium on executions to honour the birth of Christ; executions were
resumed a year later.
Capital punishment was reabolished through Republic Act No. 9346, which was signed
by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on June 24, 2006. The bill followed a vote held in
Congress earlier in the same month which overwhelmingly supported that the practice be
abolished. The penalties of life imprisonment and reclusion perpetua (indeterminate sentence,
30-year minimum) replaced the death penalty. The sentences of the 1,230 death row inmates
were commuted to life imprisonment in April, in what Amnesty International believes to be the
"largest ever commutation of death sentences".

Evangelium Vitae (John Paul II)

No effort should be spared to eliminate legalized crime or at least to limit the

damage caused by these laws, but with the vivid awareness of the radical duty to
respect every human being's right to life from conception until natural death,
including the life of the lowliest and the least gifted.

Should never come to "the extreme of executing the offender except in cases of
absolute necessity, when it would not be possible otherwise to defend
society".It likewise points out that "today however, as a result of steady improvements
in the organization of the penal system, such cases are very rare, if not practically
non-existent" (death penalty is allowed if and only if the offender poses great threat

to the society that the government can no longer provide protection. However this case
is described as very rare so imposition of capital punishment is of no need. Church is still
against but with exceptions)

Following the publication of the evangelium vitae, the matter was taken in Fifth Session
of the UN Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. As a final compromise,
the resolution, as adopted, "takes note with appreciation of the continuing
process towards worldwide abolition of the death penalty". On the other hand,
the proposal of a abolishment on capital punishment, presented to the General
Assembly in November 1999, was postponed in the face of strong opposition
from many countries.

Spiritual decay has also become a characteristic of the post-communist countries. The
following factors are evidence: death penalties, crimes all of these actions are the denial
of life's saintliness and untouchability. The spiritual decay is confirmed by the fact
that people no longer care so much for their life. The distorted concept of
liberty by thinking that everything is allowed

Culture of death - a secularized vision of freedom to act subjectively

according to ephemeral models like pleasure and fleeting happiness, rather
than adhering to values such as the objective truth and real happiness.
Ethical relativism is derived from this secularized vision.
Pope Francis

Opposes death penalty because it neglects human dignity.


THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT You shall not kill. You have heard that it was said to the
men of old, "You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall b liable to judgment." But I say to
you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment. Every
human life, from the moment of conception until death, is sacred because the
human person has been willed for its own sake in the image and likeness of
the living and holy God.

God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any
circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent
human being.

The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the

prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional
killing. "The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one's own
life; and the killing of the aggressor. . . . The one is intended, the other is not

Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined,
the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death
penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the
unjust aggressor.\ If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and
protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such
means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good
and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Those who renounce violence and bloodshed and, in order to safeguard

human rights, make use of those means of defense available to the weakest, bear
witness to evangelical charity, provided they do so without harming the rights and
obligations of other men and societies. They bear legitimate witness to the gravity
of the physical and moral risks of recourse to violence, with all its destruction and death

The Old Testament Law prescribed the death penalty for an extensive list of crimes including:

Murder (Exodus 21:12-14; Leviticus 24:17,21)

Attacking or cursing a parent (Exodus 21:15,17)
Disobedience to parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)
Kidnapping (Exodus 21:16)
Failure to confine a dangerous animal, resulting in death (Exodus 21:28-29)
Witchcraft and sorcery (Exodus 22:18, Leviticus 20:27, Deuteronomy 13:5, 1 Samuel
Human sacrifice (Leviticus 20:2-5)
Sex with an animal (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:16)

Doing work on the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14, 35:2, Numbers 15:32-36)

Incest (Leviticus 18:6-18, 20:11-12,14,17,19-21)
Adultery (Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:22)
Homosexual acts (Leviticus 20:13)
Prostitution by a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9)
Blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14,16, 23)
False prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20)
Perjury in capital cases (Deuteronomy 19:16-19)
Refusing to obey a decision of a judge or priest (Deuteronomy 17:12)
False claim of a woman's virginity at time of marriage (Deuteronomy 22:13-21)
Sex between a woman pledged to be married and a man other than her betrothed
(Deuteronomy 22:23-24)

The New Testament

Jesus said His mission was not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-20).
However, He and His apostles greatly modified our understanding of God's intentions.

Love is the principle that must guide all our actions (Matthew 5:43-48, Mark 12:2834, Luke 10:25-28, Romans 13:9-10, Galatians 5:14). Christians are bound by Jesus'
commands to "Love the Lord your God" and "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew

We are no longer bound by the harsh Old Testament Law (John 1:16-17, Romans 8:13, 1 Corinthians 9:20-21).

Jesus flatly rejected the Old Testament principle of taking equal revenge for a
wrong done (Matthew 5:38-41, Luke 9:52-56). He also said that we are all
sinners and do not have the right to pass judgment on one another (Matthew

In the case of a woman caught in adultery (a capital offense), Jesus said to those who
wanted to stone her to death, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to
throw a stone at her." ( John 8:7-11)

The apostle Paul also warned against taking revenge for a wrong done (Romans 12:1721, 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Likewise, the apostle Peter warned us not to repay evil with
evil (1 Peter 3:9).

Top 10 Pros and Cons

Should the death penalty be allowed?
PRO Death Penalty

CON Death Penalty

1. Morality

PRO: "The crimes of rape, torture, treason,

kidnapping, murder, larceny, and perjury pivot on a
moral code that escapes apodictic [indisputably
true] proof by expert testimony or otherwise. But
communities would plunge into anarchy if they
could not act on moral assumptions less certain
than that the sun will rise in the east and set in the
west. Abolitionists may contend that the death
penalty is inherently immoral because
governments should never take human life, no
matter what the provocation. But that is an article
of faith, not of fact. The death penalty honors
human dignity by treating the defendant as a free
moral actor able to control his own destiny for good
or for ill; it does not treat him as an animal with no
moral sense."

CON: "Ultimately, the moral question surrounding

capital punishment in America has less to do with
whether those convicted of violent crime deserve
to die than with whether state and federal
governments deserve to kill those whom it has
imprisoned. The legacy of racial apartheid, racial
bias, and ethnic discrimination is unavoidably
evident in the administration of capital punishment
in America. Death sentences are imposed in a
criminal justice system that treats you better if you
are rich and guilty than if you are poor and
innocent. This is an immoral condition that makes
rejecting the death penalty on moral grounds not
only defensible but necessary for those who refuse
to accept unequal or unjust administration of

Bruce Fein, JD
Constitutional Lawyer and General Counsel to the
Center for Law and Accountability
"Individual Rights and Responsibility - The Death
Penalty, But Sparingly,"
June 17, 2008

Bryan Stevenson, JD
Professor of Law at New York University School of
"Close to Death: Reflections on Race and Capital
Punishment in America," from Debating the Death
Penalty: Should America Have Capital
Punishment? The Experts on Both Sides Make
Their Best Case

2. Constitutionality
PRO: "Simply because an execution method may
result in pain, either by accident or as an
inescapable consequence of death, does not
establish the sort of 'objectively intolerable risk of
harm' [quoting the opinion of the Court
from Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U. S. 825, 842, 846
(1994)] that qualifies as cruel and unusual...
Kentucky has adopted a method of execution
believed to be the most humane available, one it
shares with 35 other States... Kentucky's decision
to adhere to its protocol cannot be viewed as
probative of the wanton infliction of pain under the
Eighth Amendment... Throughout our history,
whenever a method of execution has been
challenged in this Court as cruel and unusual, the

CON: "Death is... an unusually severe punishment,

unusual in its pain, in its finality, and in its
enormity... The fatal constitutional infirmity in the
punishment of death is that it treats 'members of
the human race as nonhumans, as objects to be
toyed with and discarded. [It is] thus inconsistent
with the fundamental premise of the Clause that
even the vilest criminal remains a human being
possessed of common human dignity.' [quoting
himself from Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238,
257 (1972)] As such it is a penalty that 'subjects
the individual to a fate forbidden by the principle of
civilized treatment guaranteed by the [Clause].'
[quoting C.J. Warren from Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S.
86, 101 (1958)] I therefore would hold, on that

Court has rejected the challenge. Our society has

nonetheless steadily moved to more humane
methods of carrying out capital punishment."
Baze v. Rees (529 KB)
US Supreme Court, in a decision written by Chief
Justice John G. Roberts
Apr. 16, 2008

ground alone, that death is today a cruel and

unusual punishment prohibited by the Clause... I
would set aside the death sentences imposed... as
violative of the Eighth and Fourteenth
William J. Brennan, JD
Justice of the US Supreme Court
Dissenting opinion in Gregg v. Georgia (347
July 2, 1976

3. Deterrence
PRO: "Common sense, lately bolstered by
statistics, tells us that the death penalty will deter
murder... People fear nothing more than death.
Therefore, nothing will deter a criminal more than
the fear of death... life in prison is less feared.
Murderers clearly prefer it to execution -otherwise, they would not try to be sentenced to
life in prison instead of death... Therefore, a life
sentence must be less deterrent than a death
sentence. And we must execute murderers as long
as it is merely possible that their execution protects
citizens from future murder."
Ernest Van Den Haag, PhD
Late Professor of Jurisprudence at Fordham
"For the Death Penalty," New York Times
Oct. 17, 1983

CON: "[T]here is no credible evidence that the

death penalty deters crime more effectively than
long terms of imprisonment. States that have death
penalty laws do not have lower crime rates or
murder rates than states without such laws. And
states that have abolished capital punishment
show no significant changes in either crime or
murder rates. The death penalty has no deterrent
effect. Claims that each execution deters a certain
number of murders have been thoroughly
discredited by social science research."
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
"The Death Penalty: Questions and Answers,"
Apr. 9, 2007

4. Retribution
PRO: "Society is justly ordered when each person
receives what is due to him. Crime disturbs this
just order, for the criminal takes from people their
lives, peace, liberties, and worldly goods in order
to give himself undeserved benefits. Deserved
punishment protects society morally by restoring
this just order, making the wrongdoer pay a price
equivalent to the harm he has done. This is
retribution, not to be confused with revenge, which
is guided by a different motive. In retribution the
spur is the virtue of indignation, which answers
injury with injury for public good... Retribution is the
primary purpose of just punishment as such...
[R]ehabilitation, protection, and deterrence have a
lesser status in punishment than retribution."

CON: "Retribution is just another word for revenge,

and the desire for revenge is one of the lowest
human emotions perhaps sometimes
understandable, but not really a rational response
to a critical situation. To kill the person who has
killed someone close to you is simply to continue
the cycle of violence which ultimately destroys the
avenger as well as the offender. That this
execution somehow give 'closure' to a tragedy is a
myth. Expressing ones violence simply reinforces
the desire to express it. Just as expressing anger
simply makes us more angry. It does not drain
away. It contaminates the otherwise good will
which any human being needs to progress in love
and understanding."

J. Budziszewski, PhD
Professor of Government and Philosophy at the
University of Texas at Austin
"Capital Punishment: The Case for
Aug./Sep. 2004

Raymond A. Schroth, SJ
Jesuit Priest and Community Professor of the
Humanities at St. Peter's College
Email to
Sep. 5, 2008

5. Irrevocable Mistakes
PRO: "...No system of justice can produce results
which are 100% certain all the time. Mistakes will
be made in any system which relies upon human
testimony for proof. We should be vigilant to
uncover and avoid such mistakes. Our system of
justice rightfully demands a higher standard for
death penalty cases. However, the risk of making a
mistake with the extraordinary due process applied
in death penalty cases is very small, and there is
no credible evidence to show that any innocent
persons have been executed at least since the
death penalty was reactivated in 1976... The
inevitability of a mistake should not serve as
grounds to eliminate the death penalty any more
than the risk of having a fatal wreck should make
automobiles illegal..."
Steven D. Stewart, JD
Prosecuting Attorney for Clark County Indiana
Message on the Clark County Prosecutor website
Aug. 6, 2008

CON: "...Since the reinstatement of the modern

death penalty, 87 people have been freed from
death row because they were later proven
innocent. That is a demonstrated error rate of 1
innocent person for every 7 persons executed.
When the consequences are life and death, we
need to demand the same standard for our system
of justice as we would for our airlines...It is a
central pillar of our criminal justice system that it is
better that many guilty people go free than that one
innocent should suffer... Let us reflect to ensure
that we are being just. Let us pause to be certain
we do not kill a single innocent person. This is
really not too much to ask for a civilized society."
Russ Feingold, JD
US Senator (D-WI)
introducing the "National Death Penalty
Moratorium Act of 2000"
April 26, 2000

6. Cost of Death vs. Life in Prison

PRO: "Many opponents present, as fact, that the
cost of the death penalty is so expensive (at least
$2 million per case?), that we must choose life
without parole ('LWOP') at a cost of $1 million for
50 years. Predictably, these pronouncements may
be entirely false. JFA [Justice for All] estimates that
LWOP cases will cost $1.2 million-$3.6 million
more than equivalent death penalty cases. There
is no question that the up front costs of the death
penalty are significantly higher than for equivalent
LWOP cases. There also appears to be no
question that, over time, equivalent LWOP cases
are much more expensive... than death penalty
cases. Opponents ludicrously claim that the death
penalty costs, over time, 3-10 times more than

CON: "In the course of my work, I believe I have

reviewed every state and federal study of the costs
of the death penalty in the past 25 years. One
element is common to all of these studies: They all
concluded that the cost of the death penalty
amounts to a net expense to the state and the
taxpayers. Or to put it differently,the death penalty
is clearly more expensive than a system handling
similar cases with a lesser punishment. [It]
combines the costliest parts of both punishments:
lengthy and complicated death penalty trials,
followed by incarceration for life... Everything that
is needed for an ordinary trial is needed for a death
penalty case, only more so:
More pre-trial time...

Dudley Sharp
Director of Death Penalty Resources at Justice for
"Death Penalty and Sentencing
Information," Justice for All website
Oct. 1, 1997

More experts...
Twice as many attorneys...
Two trials instead of one will be conducted: one
for guilt and one for punishment.
And then will come a series of appeals during
which the inmates are held in the high security of
death row."
Richard C. Dieter, MS, JD
Executive Director of the Death Penalty
Information Center
Testimony to the Judiciary Committee of the
Colorado State House of Representatives
regarding "House Bill 1094 - Costs of the Death
Penalty and Related Issues"
Feb. 7, 2007

7. Race
PRO: "[T]he fact that blacks and Hispanics are
charged with capital crimes out of proportion to
their numbers in the general population may simply
mean that blacks and Hispanics commit capital
crimes out of proportion to their numbers. Capital
criminals dont look like America... No one is
surprised to find more men than women in this
class. Nor is it a shock to find that this group
contains more twenty-year-olds than
septuagenarians. And if as the left tirelessly
maintains poverty breeds crime, and if as it
tiresomely maintains the poor are
disproportionately minority, then it must follow
as the left entirely denies that minorities will be
'overrepresented' among criminals."

CON: "Despite the fact that African Americans

make up only 13 percent of the nations population,
almost 50 percent of those currently on the federal
death row are African American. And even though
only three people have been executed under the
federal death penalty in the modern era, two of
them have been racial minorities. Furthermore, all
six of the next scheduled executions are African
Americans. The U.S. Department of Justices own
figures reveal that between 2001 and 2006, 48
percent of defendants in federal cases in which the
death penalty was sought were African
Americans the biggest argument against the
death penalty is that it is handed out in a biased,
racially disparate manner."

Roger Clegg, JD
General Counsel at the Center for Equal
"The Color of Death: Does the Death Penalty
Discriminate?, National Review Online
June 11, 2001

National Association for the Advancement of

Colored People (NAACP)
"NAACP Remains Steadfast in Ending Death
Penalty & Fighting Injustice in America's Justice
System, NAACP website
June 28, 2007

8. Income Level
PRO: "The next urban legend is that of the
threadbare but plucky public defender fighting
against all odds against a team of sleek, heavilyfunded prosecutors with limitless resources. The
reality in the 21st century is startlingly different...
the past few decades have seen the establishment
of public defender systems that in many cases rival
some of the best lawyers retained privately... Many
giant silk-stocking law firms in large cities across

CON: "Who pays the ultimate penalty for crimes?

The poor. Who gets the death penalty? The poor.
After all the rhetoric that goes on in legislative
assemblies, in the end, when the net is cast out, it
is the poor who are selected to die in this country.
And why do poor people get the death penalty? It
has everything to do with the kind of defense they
get. Money gets you good defense. That's why
you'll never see an O.J. Simpson on death row. As

America not only provide pro-bono counsel in

capital cases, but also offer partnerships to
lawyers whose sole job is to promote indigent
capital defense."
Joshua Marquis, JD
District Attorney of Clatsop County, Oregon
"The Myth of Innocence, Journal of Criminal Law
and Criminology
Mar. 31, 2005

the saying goes: 'Capital punishment means them

without the capital get the punishment.'"
Helen Prejean, MA
Anti-death penalty activist and author of Dead Man
"Would Jesus Pull the Switch?, Salt of the Earth

9. Attorney Quality
PRO: "Defense attorneys... routinely file all manner
of motions and objections to protect their clients
from conviction. Attorneys know their trial tactics
will be thoroughly scrutinized on appeal, so every
effort is made to avoid error, ensuring yet another
level of protection for the defendant. They [death
penalty opponents]... have painted a picture of
incompetent defense lawyers, sleeping throughout
the trial, or innocent men being executed. Their
accusations receive wide media coverage,
resulting in a near-daily onslaught on the death
penalty. Yet, through all the hysteria, jurors
continue to perform their responsibilities and return
death sentences."

CON: "[A] shocking two out of three death penalty

convictions have been overturned on appeal
because of police and prosecutorial misconduct,
as well as serious errors by incompetent courtappointed defense attorneys with little experience
in trying capital cases. How can we contend that
we provide equal justice under the law when we do
not provide adequate representation to the poor in
cases where a life hangs in the balance? We, the
Congress, must bear our share of responsibility for
this deplorable situation. In short, while others, like
Governor Ryan in Illinois, have recognized the
flaws in the death penalty, the Congress still just
doesn't get it. This system is broken."

California District Attorneys Association

"Prosecutors' Perspective on California's Death
Mar. 2003

John Conyers, Jr., JD

US Congressman (D-MI)
Hearing for the Innocence Protection Act of 2000
before the Subcommittee on Crime of the
Committee on the Judiciary of the House of
June 20, 2000

10. Physicians at Executions

PRO: "Accepting capital punishment in principle
means accepting it in practice, whether by the
hand of a physician or anyone else... If one finds
the practice too brutal, one must either reject it in
principle or seek to mitigate its brutality. If one
chooses the latter option, then the participation of
physicians seems more humane than delegating
the deed to prison wardens, for by condoning the
participation of untrained people who could inflict
needless suffering that we physicians might have
prevented, we are just as responsible as if we had
inflicted the suffering ourselves. The AMA
[American Medical Association] position should be
changed either to permit physician participation or
to advocate the abolition of capital punishment.

CON: "The American Medical Association's policy

is clear and unambiguous... requiring physicians to
participate in executions violates their oath to
protect lives and erodes public confidence in the
medical profession. A physician is a member of a
profession dedicated to preserving life... The use
of a physician's clinical skill and judgment for
purposes other than promoting an individual's
health and welfare undermines a basic ethical
foundation of medicine first, do no harm. The
guidelines in the AMA Code of Medical Ethics
address physician participation in executions
involving lethal injection. The ethical opinion
explicitly prohibits selecting injection sites for
executions by lethal injection, starting intravenous

The hypocritical attitude of 'My hands are clean

let the spectacle proceed' only leads to needless
human suffering."
Bruce E. Ellerin, MD, JD
Doctor of Oncology Radiation at Sierra Providence
Health Network
Response letter to the New England Journal of
Medicine regarding an article titled "When Law and
Ethics Collide Why Physicians Participate in
Executions," by Atul Gawande, MD
July 6, 2006

PRO Death Penalty

lines, prescribing, administering, or supervising the

use of lethal drugs, monitoring vital signs, on site
or remotely, and declaring death."
American Medical Association (AMA)
"AMA: Physician Participation in Lethal Injection
Violates Medical Ethics," press release from the
AMA website
July 17, 2006

CON Death Penalty


The risk of executing innocent people exists in any justice system
The poor and the defenseless may be most prone to this.
The death penalty is incompatible with human rights and human dignity
The death penalty does not deter crime effectively
Since we are living in a democratic country, we can use our voices as citizens of the country
to prevent the passing of death penalty as a law.

The following are related articles and opinions about death penalty:

Should the Philippines bring back the death penalty?

The premise of Senator Sotto that the death penalty should come back because the crime rates
have been increasingof heinous crimesis not supported by facts. That's number one.
Number two: This is the third time we've talked about death penalty and it's the same
arguments except that, since the time we last talked about it, 2003 or 2004, many studies have
come out showing that indeed, death penalty has a deterrent effect.
The deterrent effect is not the only reason why there is controversy about death penalty. There
is, too, the morality of the situation. When one takes a life or when one destroys a life, should
one's life be destroyed? Well, if you are in the Old Testament, yes it should; when you are in
the New Testament, no it should not. So there is controversy.
But even if there is no controversy, even if there is no deterrent effect, is the death penalty
proper now at this time for the Philippines? And the answer is, No. Why? Because we have a
flawed criminal justice system which does not guarantee that it is the guilty one who is
convicted and the innocent one is freed.
Bakit? When we live in a justice system where hindi nahuhuli 'yung guilty or nakaka-eskapo sila
or nakakabili sila ng magandang decision? Worse, we live in a system where innocent people
get convicted because wala silang access to legal services. Ayan ba ang gusto natinthat ten
guilty men go free and even more innocent men get convicted? Hindi puwede yan.
This is the only time na agree ako na makalusot ang pasaway because the decision is
irreversible. 'Pag nabitay ang innocent person, that's the end.
Forgive me for allowing pasaways to go ahead because there are so many innocent persons
that may indeed be punished unjustly.
Crimes and the death penalty
MANILA Mayor Joseph Estrada proposed the restoration of the death penalty last week. He was
moved by the gruesome crime committed by a drug addict pedicab driver who raped and then
killed a six-year-old girl.

Whenever heinous crimes proliferate and get broadcast-media attention, calls for the return of
the death penalty increase. Also, when the corruption of government officials of the
massiveness and extent of the Napoles PDAF scammake the people squirm with disgust and
scream in anger, more people shout Execute the plunderers!
The 1986 Constitution abolishes the death penalty. Guided by the Constitution the state did not
execute anyone on death row during the term of President Cory Aquino. But, in the absence of
an enabling law to make the Constitutional ban on state executions, President Fidel Ramos
restored the death penalty in 1993.
Ironically, Mayor Estrada, who was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of plunder charges (some
say these were false accusations supported by fraudulent evidence and mendacious
testimonies), could have been executed had Congress not passed a law and President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo signed R.A. 9346 abolishing the death penalty and making life imprisonment
the highest punishment.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. opposes the restoration of the death penalty so it does not look
like any bill with that aim will reach first base. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Philippines, according to Fr. Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the CBCP Episcopal
Commission on Family and Life, continues to oppose the death penalty.
Fr. Castro reminded Mr. Estrada that ending the life of the criminal does not bring back the life
taken away. The Church wishes Gods love to govern the treatment of even the worst criminal.
Its way is to help criminals become truly contrite, do everything to make up for the evil they
have done and lead a life that would henceforth lead them to heaven by being sacrificial in
doing good to others.
Innocents sell themselves to murderers
One of the Roman Catholic Churchs reasons for rejecting the death penalty is that in an
imperfect judicial system many persons convicted and could be put on death row are innocent.
The conviction of the innocent happens in our country not only because of positive efforts of
unjust parties to find someone they hate guilty, and not only because some fiscals or judges are
incompetent or corrupt. It happens also because of the noble desire of dirt-poor fathers to earn
what they think is big money they can leave their families. They own up to murders rich men
have committed and what they are paid, a big sum in their poverty-stricken circumstances, is
not even half the value of the oldest car the rich murderer owns.
The Church rejoiced when our current, the 1896, Constitution abolished the death penalty for it
was, in the words of a former CBCP president, Bishop Carmelo Morelos of the Butuan Diocese in
Mindanao, was a very big step towards a practical recognition of the dignity of every human
being created to the image and likeness of God, and of the value of human life from its
conception to its natural end.
The Catholic Church has always taught that poverty, ignorance and lack of education and lack
of formation in virtues are the root causes of criminality. If the state pays more attention to
these basic needs of human beings there would be less crimes. There would be no need to try
scaring criminals into behaving well with the threat of being put to death by the government.

The fact, however, is that no conclusive evidence and statistics have satisfactorily proved that
executing criminals deters other criminals. Statistics show that most violent and fatal crimes are
committed by persons in a state of irrationality. In other words the criminal is not in his right
mind. Therefore, he or
she cannot be logically or morally be held accountable for his crime. We stand with the Church
in rejecting the restoration of the death penalty.
Death penalty opponents issue warning in the Philippines
Death penalty opponents have hit out at a senators attempt to restore capital punishment,
saying many innocent people would be executed as a result of the Philippines flawed legal
The Coalition Against the Death Penalty said on Tuesday it plans to highlight the cases of at
least 10 people it says were wrongfully convicted as part of its efforts to stop reintroduction of
the death penalty.
"There are documents that will detail that these people were wrongfully convicted," Rodolfo
Diamante, a coalition member and executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Prison
Pastoral Care, said at a media forum in Manila.
Senator Vicente Sotto III last week filed a bill seeking the revival of the Death Penalty Law that
allows the use of lethal injection for judicial executions.
The House of Representatives has already approved a bill that would reinstate the death
penalty for drug traffickers but the Senate is yet to act on it.
Both houses would need to approve reinstatement for executions to resume.
The Philippines placed a moratorium on capital punishment in 2001 and five years later
downgraded the sentences of 1,230 death-row inmates to life imprisonment in what Amnesty
International described as the "largest ever commutation of death sentences".
But a series of shocking crimes has sparked calls for capital punishment to be reinstated,
polarizing predominantly Catholic Filipino society.
Manila Mayor and former president Joseph Estrada expressed support for the revival of the
death penalty after a pedicab driver admitted to the rape and killing of a six-year-old girl in
Manila during the Feast of Santa Nino last month.
There have also been increasing calls among the public for the restoration of capital
punishment among those who say it would deter serious criminals, while others remain opposed
on religious and humanitarian grounds.
President Benigno Aquino has expressed hesitation on restoring capital punishment, saying it
needs "extensive consultation.

"The death penalty is irreversible. Once imposed, you can't overturn it. And then, as we all
know, our criminal justice system still has a lot flaws. So, what if we falsely convict?" said
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. The Church has largely been against reviving capital
punishment although there are divisions.
Father Melvin Castro, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Family and Life of the
Catholic of the bishops' conference, said the Church supports "restorative justice".
"A life lost due to crime cannot be restored by ending the life of a criminal," he said.
Bishop Efraim Tendero of the Philippine Council for Evangelical Churches has disagreed, arguing
that use of the death penalty "is biblical, but must be balanced by a reliable judicial system.