Still, debate on death penalty

Twenty two years ago I was against capital punishment and became an editorial writer of a high school paper critical to such kind of “administration of justice,” the last execution method of which was by lethal injection.

I wasn’t sure that the death penalty during the time was a proven deterrent to future murders and heinous crimes, but until now I remain cold to proposals to reimpose it. If you’re here in the Middle East putting doubts and asking why death penalty is not being abolished, you better listen to the live-stream of the Philippines’ 97.9 Love Radio which has a replay after replay of its slogan “Kailangan Pa Bang I-memorize Yan.”

My paper’s anti-death penalty editorial may have won the hearts of national schools press conference judges in Baguio, but not the heart of Leo Echagaray who, six years after I wrote it, got the injection nevertheless and told witnesses in his last words: “Sambayanang Pilipino, patawarin ako sa kasalanang ipinaratang ninyo sa akin. Pilipino, pinatay ng kapwa Pilipino.” Theodore Te could no longer tell his client that further executions were to be downgraded to jail terms as Echagaray already got killed as a matter of dispensation of justice.

Learning the lesson derived from the losing lawyer who said he was “ashamed as a Filipino” because the Supreme Court didn’t listen to the cause of saving his client’s life from an irreversible judicial error but now takes the helm as the Court’s official spokesman, I cannot easily jump into concluding that the Fallen 44 in Mindanao and people burned to death and beheaded in an “Islamic State” were victims of neoliberalism. Nor can I also agree at this point that the two particular armed conflicts were a systemic crisis of neoliberal capitalism.

Ceceña (2006) outstandingly analyzed inextricable connections between neoliberalism and armed conflict as she was co-writer of respective pieces for Development Dialogue 51. The journal contributor did indicate such links to that of the armed conflict (involving an “Islamic State” and a Mindanao-based militia group), or didn’t she?

Now that I’m 37 years old, have I helped end neoliberalism? You and I are the Ceceñas, and we can still see people rebel against the advance of capitalism, armed insurgencies impede access to the rainforest, and civil revolts try to put an end to intensive mining. DC Alviar

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