Stop the return of the death penalty in the Philippines

The Philippine government is trying to bring back the death penalty It’s now at the stage where the Senate can approve it – or, they can oppose it. They have the power to stop the death penalty being reintroduced. But we must act now and put as much pressure as possible on them to vote against bringing it back.

President Duterte has made it clear since he came into office earlier this year: he is happy to use violence to preserve social order and fight crime. And his government is quickly following his lead.

In March, a Bill to reintroduce the death penalty for some drug-related offences was adopted by the House of Representatives. Now, another Bill is going to the Senate for them to discuss and vote on in May – and it aims to bring back the death penalty for many more offences.

Time is running out. We haven’t got long to stop lawmakers reintroducing the death penalty in the Philippines.

Not only is the death penalty cruel, inhumane and mostly affects those living in poverty – it doesn’t even work as an effective way to deter people from committing crime, so it has no worth.

Help stop the death penalty returning to the Philippines. Act now and send an email to all members of the Philippine Senate voting on the bill over the coming weeks. Call on them to put an end to this ultimately inhuman, cruel and degrading punishment.

Please write immediately in English, Tagalog or your own language:

  • Asking the authorities of the Philippines to fully oppose the adoption of draft legislation to reintroduce the death penalty in the country;
  • Reminding them that the Philippines has undertaken international law commitments to the abolition of the death penalty and that the move would undermine positive efforts to support Filipinos overseas workers facing the death penalty abroad;
  • Highlighting that there is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect and more and more countries have been abolishing the death penalty.


Speaker of the House
Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez
House of Representatives
Rm. S-217-218
Constitution Hills 1126
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (632) 9316277
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @speakeralvarez
Salutation: Dear Mr. Speaker
Chairperson, House Committee on Human Rights
Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla
House of Representatives, Rm. N-510
Constitution Hills 1126
Quezon City
Fax: (632) 9315856
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Representative
And copies to:
Chairperson, House Committee on Public Order and Safety
Rep. Romeo Acop
House of Representatives
Rm. SWA-414
Constitution Hills 1126
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (632) 4424032
Email: [email protected]

Additional Information

The House of Representatives of the Philippines could begin consideration of a draft law to reintroduce the death penalty in the country as early as 13 December 2016. Under the proposed law, the Penal Code would be amended to allow for the use of the death penalty for certain circumstances of murder, treason, bribery, rape, kidnapping, robbery, destructive arson, drug-related offences, planting evidence and car-napping (stealing a motor vehicle). The draft law would also make the death penalty the mandatory punishment for some of these offences if carried out in certain instances. Further, it would mandate that the death sentence be implemented by lethal injection, hanging or firing squad between 12 and 18 months since its confirmation by the Supreme Court.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances as a violation of the right to life, recognized by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; and as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It is an irrevocable punishment, imposed and administered through justice systems that can be vulnerable to discrimination and error. The organization is concerned by the Philippines authorities’ claims about the death penalty’s ability to deter crime and provide justice to victims, in order to justify this reintroduction. There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect. Statistics from countries that have abolished the death penalty show that the absence of the death penalty has not resulted in an increase in the crimes previously subject to capital punishment, while evidence shows that punitive policies have little influence on the prevalence of drug use.

Since it abolished the death penalty in 2006, the Philippines has played an instrumental role in the protection of the right to life internationally, including through the promotion of the abolition of the death penalty. The authorities of the Philippines supported and co-sponsored five UN General Assembly resolutions on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty that have been adopted since 2007. The resolutions contain a critical call on states that have abolished the death penalty not to reintroduce it.

According to the most recent figures publicly reported and attributed to the Department of Foreign Affairs, as of April 2015 at least 88 Filipinos were facing the death penalty for various crimes in other countries. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been providing assistance to these prisoners to ensure their rights are respected. As part of their efforts, the country’s representatives have applied political pressure to secure the commutation of the death sentences imposed on their nationals. Amnesty International is further concerned that the reintroduction of the death penalty will significantly diminish the capacity of the authorities of the Philippines to protect the rights of its citizens, including the right to a fair trial, when facing the death penalty in other countries.

As of today, 141 countries—more than two-thirds of the world’s countries—have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. The number of countries that carry out executions has also been declining, with only 11 countries known to have carried out executions every year in the past five years. In 2015, 169 (88%) of the 193 UN Member States were execution-free. In the Asia-Pacific region, 19 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes following the abolition of the death penalty in Fiji and Nauru in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and a further eight are abolitionist in practice. In 2015 Mongolia also adopted a new Criminal Code, effective from 2017, that abolishes the death penalty for all crimes.

UA: 282/16 Index: ASA 35/5307/2016 Issue Date: 12 December 2016