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Amnesty lambasts death penalty plan

Congressmen propose execution for foreign drug traffickers

  • ucanews.com reporter, Manila
  • Philippines
  • November 7, 2012
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Rights group Amnesty International criticized two congressmen today for proposing a law, which if passed, would see the death penalty imposed on foreign drug traffickers.

The Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006 and President Benigno Aquino has rejected recent calls for its return.

However, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez and his brother Maximo Rodriguez Jr. have co-authored a House bill seeking to amend the country’s Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

The proposed law would involve convicted foreign drug traffickers being executed if their home countries also implemented the death penalty for the same crime.

“If the violator of any of the provisions of this act is an alien, the penalty to be imposed shall be the penalty prescribed by their national law,” the draft bill states.

Rufus Rodriguez has cited the cases of Filipinos executed abroad, such as in China, as the reason for doing the same to foreigners in the Philippines, invoking “the rule of equity and reciprocity.”

Amnesty International said there is no justification in imposing the death penalty no matter what the crime and by whom.

“We have all worked hard to abolish the death penalty in the Philippines and Amnesty International is still campaigning to protect everyone around the world from state sanctioned killings,” Amnesty’s Philippines Director Aurora A. Parong said today.

“Working for 'equity and reciprocity' with regard to death penalty should not mean that we should execute foreigners just because Filipinos are being punished by the death penalty abroad,’’ Parong said.

“When we abolished the death penalty in the Philippines we directed the Philippine state to respect the right to life of everyone, not just Filipinos," she said.

The rights group said it is ready to lead massive public protest actions against the bill if it remains in Congress.

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