Revival of death penalty will not violate the country's state obligation to International human rights group - Panelo

Manila, Philippines – The Senate is about to resume its hearing on the revival of the death penalty this current month though a subcommittee to be lead by Senator Manny Pacquiao.

Meanwhile, MalacaƱang said that the revival of the capital punishment will not violate the country’s obligations as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, explained as he addresses the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte that ICCPR allows the imposition but limits its applications only to most serious crimes.

Panelo added that the Philippine’s obligations under the international group cannot affect our policy-making decisions since the Constitution is the ultimate law of the land.

“More importantly, treaties cannot be in conflict with our Constitution. Otherwise, such treaties may be invalidated because the Constitution has higher authority over any legal instrument whether it be passed or ratified by the Congress,” Panelo said.

“Treaties ratified and incorporated and made part of the law of the land are only given equal standing with, and are not superior to our laws,” he added.

“Like any other law, a treaty may be repealed by a later act of the Congress if it deems that such is warranted under the present circumstances or is violative of our Constitution,” he also said.

According to Panelo, though the ICCPR’s second optional protocol mandates abolition of the death penalty, it cannot prevail on the authority of the Congress should it pass the law.

“While Section 19 of Article III of the 1987 Constitution prohibits the imposition of the death penalty, the same provision authorizes the Congress to pass a law which reimposes the death penalty for ‘compelling reasons involving heinous crimes,’ ” Panelo said.

“The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights…cannot prevail over the authority of the Congress…if it determines that there are compelling reasons to penalize or prevent the commission of grievous, odious, and hateful offenses that equate to heinous crimes,” he added.

MalacaƱang has said that reimposition of this capital punishment is very essential to keep a crime and drug free Philippines.

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