If passed, groups to question constitutionality of death penalty
MANILA — Anti-death penalty advocates aren’t giving up easily if the controversial measure gets passed into law.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the CBCP Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, on Monday said the Supreme Court will surely be their next battle ground.
“We will go to the Supreme Court. We will exhaust all these legal means available because we believe that it is unconstitutional. It is cruel. It is inhumane,” said Diamante during the Tapatan media forum at Aristocrat Restaurant in Manila.
Along with other prison rights groups, he said, studies are now being conducted in order to build a strong case against the capital punishment.
He said they are considering at least two options on how to challenge the death penalty before SC— either through a death-row convict or through lawmakers who ratified the country’s international treaty obligation against it.
According to him, filing through lawmakers may be more practical since they can easily invoke the violation of the country’s commitment to the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
“The argument could be since the country has already signed the treaty, a senator can easily claim that he/she is affected since he/she was among those that ratified it. Therefore, they can file a case before the SC,” explained Diamante.
On the other hand, anti-death penalty advocates can also wait for the “test case” involving a death row convict.
“So that the case won’t be dismissed, there has to be a victim. In that sense, we can do it when a person convicted and penalized with death penalty files a case to the SC and say that it is unconstitutional,” Diamante said.
Aside from the High Court, he revealed that another plan is bringing the issue to the international community since the Philippines signed the ICCPR.
“We are seeking the opinion of the international community. The Philippines cannot simply withdraw unilaterally. It has repercussions. And the international community is very active in making pronouncements,” he added.