By Azer N. Parrocha
MANILA – Unless every Filipino is given the chance to defend himself in court, death penalty would not be wise to impose, President Benigno S. Aquino III said Wednesday.
President Aquino raised the issue following Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III’s proposal to revive the capital punishment for heinous crimes.
After awarding three government officials during The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Awards at the Insular Life Auditorium in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, the President reacted to Sotto’s suggestion.
“The question is: Did everyone get the chance to defend himself in the court? Can we make sure that the innocent will not be convicted?” the President said in Filipino.
He further explained that assuring Filipinos of their right to defend themselves in court is still “a work in progress”.
Last Tuesday, Presidential Communications Operations Office secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. referred to the country’s justice system as “weak”.
“Until we can make sure that everyone is given rights to defend himself in court, death penalty cannot be revived,” he said. “We will still have to research further on the matter.”
President Aquino said that right now, the national government’s priority is to assure that every criminal will be captured and detained and that the justice system will be strengthened. (PNA)