Thursday, January 15, 2009

A system of injustice

BARRING theological and even moral arguments aside, a dysfunctional justice system, which has become all the more observable today, should be one of the biggest arguments why death penalty must not be re-imposed.

Hoodlums in robes who have been accused of endemic bribery, a judicial process that thrives more on technicality and legalese rather than truth, a justice department that has been long suffering from deep-seated credibility crisis—all these make the re-imposition of capital punishment not only stupid but futile.

But the pro-death penalty proponents seem not to get the logic. For them the best way to deter the commission of heinous crimes is death. Call it fanaticism or obstinacy but such point of view does not jibe with empirical fact and scientific evidence. Countries or states that have lived with capital punishment have not lessened a bit both criminals and criminality. Because, simply put, the commission of a crime does not premeditate the consequence of a punishment.

In the first place, the issue is not about death penalty. It’s about law enforcement and justice system.

“The reform of our law enforcement and justice system so that speedy justice will be meted out to all offenders of the law, especially to grave offenders, regardless of economic and social status. Such a reform is a more effective deterrent for crimes than capital punishment would be, and it will help establish an atmosphere of peace and order,” said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines in a statement in 1992 on the non-restoration of the death penalty.

With a sullied justice system, real and moneyed criminals may not be placed behind bars; only the poor ones whose poverty has condemned them to become scapegoats of a system protected with legal technicalities but deprived of ethics.

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