Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday rejected the idea of death penalty as a way to lower crime rates in the Philippines, saying the country’s justice system must be made efficient first and ensure that culprits are caught to begin with.
In an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the National Correctional Consciousness Week in Taguig on October, 27, 2022, Cayetano said that, more than imposing the “harshest penalty” for murderers, illegal drug users and pushers, and plunderers, he wants a justice system that addresses crimes right away and is capable of arresting the real culprit shortly after.
Citing Singapore as an example, he urged law enforcers and justice officials to be more aggressive in hunting down criminals by strengthening police intelligence and investigation capacities.
“Sa Singapore, kapag nagnakaw ka doon, pinakamatagal na y’ung tatlong oras, makikita agad. Pero sa atin, matagal na y’ung imbestigasyon, matagal pa y’ung paglilitis, kung anu-ano nangyayari, and then walang certainty na mapaparusahan,” he said.
Cayetano said certainty of arrest is more effective in preventing crimes than death penalty, as revealed by multiple studies in penology, law and order, and crime.
“Hindi pinag-uusapan [sa Singapore] kung papaluin ka kasi o isang taon ang kulong. Ang pinag-uusapan doon, takot ka kasi alam mong mahuhuli ka,” he said.
Cayetano’s statement comes on the heels of the ongoing probe on the murder of veteran radio broadcaster Percival “Percy Lapid” Mabasa more than three weeks ago, which is now in a mire as various names of persons-of-interest surface.
“Kahit itaas mo ‘yan to death penalty, kahit na ibulgar mo kung sino ‘yan, kung hindi naman mahuhuli, it will not prevent [more crimes],” he said.
The senator urged the police and justice officials managing Lapid’s slay case to limit the information they release to the public while the investigation is still in progress, and to deliver “more action” instead.
On the issue that some crimes are being planned and executed from within prison walls, Cayetano repeated his plea that inmates should be encouraged to report such acts to authorities, as it undermines the function of correctional facilities as a space for one-time criminals to change and atone for their crimes.
“Kailangan yung mismong mga inmates, kung gusto nila ng redemption, gusto nila ng pagbabago, huwag nilang hayaan na may ganyan. Kung may masamang nangyayari, hindi po masamang magsumbong po sa kinauukulan. Ang akin pong pakiusap, let us cooperate, huwag po tayong pumayag na mangyari ang ganyan,” he said.
Cayetano, who was accompanied by his wife Mayor Lani Cayetano, along with Taguig 1st District Rep. Ricardo “Ading” Cruz, visited and gave donations to the city’s persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) as well as officials and staff of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) stationed there.
The couple renewed their commitment to support programs that would help PDLs and their families gain skills and livelihood training, on the condition that the city’s PDLs would cooperate with jail management.