The Easter announcement by the Philippines’ President Gloria Arroyo of 1280 death row prisoners’ escape from the lethal needle to a life of state sponsored confinement is another step along the road to enlightenment.
Back in the early days of the Iraq war when Arroyo decided to pull out the Philippine Military contingent from the coalition of the willing to save the life of one Filipino OFW, despite the posturing of the bully boys, was another moment of enlightenment.
It, along with a score of personal reasons, helped me make the decision to abandon the country of my birth and adopt the Pearl of Orient as my home. This Easter decision confirms the rightness of that decision.
This Easter decision and Arroyo’s announcement that she will work towards removing the death penalty from the statute books will I suspect will be politically neutral. Unlike the Iraq decision which had broad popular appeal in the domestic electorate, this decision will have as many detractors as it has supporters.
Already anti-crime activists are up in arms rallying against the decision saying it will only encourage criminals.
The deterrent value of the death penalty is at best questionable and at worst counter productive. The deteriorating peace and order situation indicates that neither the death penalty nor imprisonment act as a deterrent. In fact that the State, under certain circumstances, can kill a citizen only re-enforces the notion that killing is an appropriate course of action.
It really is a case of wanting to have your cake and eat it at the same time.