University Students Protest Against Death Penalty
Photo by Harold Consistente Amaba (contributor)
Youth lead political parties – Akbayan, Anakbayan, Kabataan Party List, Carolinian Political Science Society, Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy (STAND), Student Power Party (SPP), and Tingog converged together at the University of San Carlos – Downtown Campus Drugstore on March 8, 2017 for a candle lighting demonstration and protest to oppose the passing of the third reading of the death penalty bill.
The House of Representatives passed the third and final reading of the bill which sought to restore death penalty last March 7, Tuesday. The bill garnered a total of 217 lawmakers who were in favor, 54 against it, while only one abstained.
Later that night, the Supreme Student Council of the University of San Carlos posted on their Facebook page their Statement on the Reimposition of Death Penalty which states “Execute Justice, not people.”
“The main purpose of this gathering is to dissent the Congress’ decision on allowing the death penalty to the Philippines”, said Janet Dawn Abines, incumbent Supreme Student Council Vice-President. Students held placards with “No to Death Penalty” written on it as a sign of opposition and lit candles during the ongoing event to portray their stand regarding the much-debated issue.
Anakbayan-Cebu Chairperson, Mr. Niño Olayvar shared his stand against death penalty, “So klaro man ang atong position against death penalty katong gi-propose pa lang siya. Karon na giapprove na sa Congress, we are very dismayed and enraged. So nagpalusad tag laing mga actions aron mababagan aron dili gyud mahimong balaod ning death penalty. Dili ni siya solbad para sa dugay na nga problema para sa atong nasod [Our stand against death penalty is clear, since the time it was proposed. Now that it has been approved by the Congress, we are very dismayed and enraged. So we initiated different actions to prevent death penalty from becoming a law, for this is not a solution towards the long-time problem of our country.]”
When asked about what his message would be for the youth, Mr.Olayvar answered “The youth in general, ang usa sa grabe nga maapektohan aning death penalty, because kita ang usa sa main affected sa drug problem. Hence, by prosecuting the people who are victims of drug problems, pasabot matarget sad ang mga kabatan-unan, who are the future leaders of the nation. So kinahanglan nga mubarog ang mga kabatan-unan para mababagan ang bill, og kinahanglan magpatuman og rehabilitative na form of justice system. Kay sa pagkakaron, bulok ang justice system sa Pilipinas nga ultimo pulis dilikasaligan ug ang mga court justices pwede nimo paliton. Ingana siya kabulok, nga kailangan nato i-overhaul and i-reform. Unless mabuhat na nimo, padayon tag babag sa death penalty [The youth in general would be one of the people who will be greatly affected by this death penalty, because we are one of the victims of drug problem. Hence, by prosecuting the people who are victims of drug problems, it means that the youth who are the future leaders of this nation would also be the target. So, the youth needs to stand, stop the bill, and implement a rehabilitative form of justice system.]”
Incoming SSC President-Elect Deodatus Burgos shared his inputs regarding the restoration of the death penalty bill, “We always espouse the idea of restorative justice rather than retributive justice. So we always have that justice inequity. Killing somebody is not a solution to the criminality of the Philippines. But rather it allows us to have the mind set of having a revenge to kill somebody when somebody would commit a crime. It is not solely that the person is responsible about it. The bottom line is, we are for restorative justice and not retributive justice.”
The verdict for the controversial restoration of the death penalty bill will now lie on the hands of the Senate, where the lives of thousands of criminals and innocents will remain hanging. May them be sentenced for a long duration of imprisonment, or be sentenced to death is a question yet to be answered.