Go votes ‘no’ to death penalty

Metro BLISTT

Baguio City Representative Mark Go voted against House Bill 4727 which seeks to reimpose capital punishment for heinous drug-related offenses.

With 217 members on the affirmative vote, 54 in the negative and 1 abstention, the House of Representative approved on third and final reading the controversial House Bill last March 7, 2017, Tuesday evening.

Go was among the 54 legislators who stood their ground and voted against the disputed house bill allowing capital punishment. In his explanation, Go gives emphasis on the issue of morality as well as the sanctity of life, citing the words of the late of Coretta Scott King, “Justice is never advanced in the taking of a human life. Morality is never upheld by legalized murder.”

He further explains that before the enactment of the Constitution or the ratification of any treaty, everyone was already granted the right to life and dignity, and that the sanctity of human life is not shed off by any crime.

The lawmaker from Baguio City, with a firm conviction, pursued a conscience vote and reminded his colleagues in the lower chamber of their true mandate. “It is our duty as legislators to enact laws we honestly believe would create a lasting good for humanity as a whole, and to do that, it is only necessary that the laws we enact be consistent with the morals we uphold,” Go said.

The proposed measure imposes a penalty of reclusion perpetua to death to perpetrators guilty of any of the seven drug-related crimes enumerated in the bill. Moreover, it prohibits imposing death penalty on guilty persons below 18 years old or more than 70 years old at the time the crime was committed. HB 4727 provides the mode of execution either by hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection.

Among others, Go recommends to address the country’s flawed criminal justice system, from the capability and integrity of our law enforcers, to the lack of prosecutors, clogged court dockets, glaring judicial errors, and inhuman conditions and malpractices inside our national penitentiaries.

“I believe that we must direct our focus not on the severity but rather on the certainty of punishment as a true means of deterring crimes,” Go explained. “While I share my colleagues’ passion and resolve in addressing criminality in this country, I am afraid that the measure this bill proposes may lead to irreversible mistakes we could not afford,” he added.

The death penalty was formally sponsored on second reading last February 7 followed by the period of interpellation and debate allowing only six session days until February 22. On March 1, individual amendments were introduced and the bill was hastily approved on second reading, notably with one session day interval prior to its passage on third and final reading on March 7. PR/ABN