Locsin: Death penalty revival will weaken efforts to save OFWs convicted abroad
MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. stood firm on his support for the abolition of the death penalty, saying its revival would weaken the government’s obligation to save Filipinos on death row abroad.
Government efforts to assist Filipinos convicted overseas were discussed during an organizational meeting of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday.
According to the DFA, most of the Filipinos convicted abroad were tried for drug-related offenses, usually punishable by death.
“That’s why I continue to support the abolition of the death penalty. Now that we abolish it, if we restore it, how we can appeal if we feel that there is a possibility for miscarriage of justice in a foreign country?” Locsin said.
“How we can appeal for mercy or a commutation of sentence?” he added.
During the meeting, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III noted that the government was obligated to monitor and assist Filipinos convicted in other countries.
“That obligation is weakened when we restore the death penalty,” Locsin said.
Early this year, Locsin expressed his opposition to the restoration of the death penalty after a 39-year-old household service worker was executed in Saudi Arabia after she was found guilty of murder.
“We lose the argument of respecting our culture which abhors the taking of a human life by a cold formal state justice system when we believe that a state exists to protect life,” he said in a tweet then.
Recently, a Filipino woman was arrested in Malaysia for allegedly trafficking over 5.9 kilograms of crystal meth, or shabu, and could face the death sentence.
Currently, there are four different bills seeking the revival of capital punishment in the country filed at the Senate.