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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) immediately slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to revive the death penalty for crimes related to illegal drugs in his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA).

While CHR spokeswoman Jacqueline de Guia agreed that crimes should be punished, she stressed that it should not result in further violations of human rights. 

The commission has extended an invitation to the government to engage in a discussion on the ineffectivity of death penalty in curbing crimes. 

De Guia said bringing back the death penalty would be a breach of an international agreement to abolish capital punshment, which the country ratified in 2007.

“[A]ny moves to reinstate capital punishment in the country conflicts with the tenets of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” she said. 

De Guia said the Philippines needs a comprehensive approach “anchored on restorative justice” when it comes to addressing drug problems.

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan took the president to task for his “desire to kill.”

“Covid, gutom, at walang trabaho ng milyon-milyon ang matinding problema, death penalty and isinusulong. Walang ibang hangarin kundi pumatay,” Pangilinan tweeted. 

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno also questioned Duterte’s proposal, stressing inequality in access to the country’s judicial system.

Ang problema, hindi patas ang batas sa atin. `Yung maliit na tao, kulong agad, tapos basta big-time at may kapit, siguradong lusot. Anong ikabubuti ng death penalty sa ganitong sistema?” Diokno said on Twitter. Jayziel Khim Budino