There’s No Achievement in Ending Someone’s Second Chance in Life

Since its abolishment in 2006, there has been a long debate on whether or not the death penalty as a capital punishment should be reinstated in the Philippines. From the case of Leo Echegaray, the first Filipino sentenced to be executed by lethal injection in 1999, to the alleged EJKs committed during the drug war in 2016, it has been a sensitive issue on whether the death penalty is effective or not in addressing the rising crime rate in our country since then.  

There have been plenty of advocacy groups, organizations, and coalitions that are strongly against the imposition of the death penalty on heinous crimes committed. They are the ones who are always on the frontlines whenever the subject of reinstating it is being introduced in Congress, whether it be in the lower house or upper house of the legislative department. HLAF, Inc. is always one of those non-governmental organizations that are the first to stand their ground against the death penalty.  

HLAF always believed that individuals who are in conflict with the law are just victims of circumstances in society and that second chances should always be provided for them, starting from the moment they step foot inside the correctional facilities. Persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), no matter what their conviction is, heinous crime or not, should have the chance to attain the right of dignity through freedom.  

That is why together with other stakeholders including HLAF, the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP) was formed. Its mission, strongly oppose the reinstatement of the death penalty in the country and continue to work toward the justice that heals. In its recent meeting, the strategic communications plan about alternatives to the death penalty was discussed which was presented by HLAF.  

In their presentation, HLAF talks through the details of the strategic communications plan such as the communication objectives, target audience profile, key stakeholders, key messaging and delivery methods, as well as the activity timeline for the formulation of alternatives to the death penalty. The communication objectives seek to promote restorative justice and hope-based messaging, which may persuade audiences to oppose the death sentence and instead focus on restorative justice. The key messages are about policy advocacy, education, involvement, and legal empowerment. They have also identified their target audience and profile, which include politicians, government entities, marginalized communities, the legal field, the media, the religious sector, the global community, generation Z, and universities that will determine the path of the advocacy of the coalition.  

Ms. Karen Lucia S. Gomez-Dumpit, former commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and current president of the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP), emphasized in her statement during the meeting that individuals in the academe should be encouraged to formulate papers that will unfold and highlight the importance of restorative justice in the community and that the death penalty protects no one, making those who do not have access to adequate legal services to be in most risk if the death penalty should then be reinstated.  

This only proves that here in our country, there are still individuals and organizations who serve as a beacon of hope for those who wish to be given a second chance in life, and not to be deprived of it and be forever forgotten if they are no longer in this world. The death penalty is, and will always not be the right answer to combat turpitude and lawlessness in society but rather, focusing on the improvement of the overall justice system in our country will be the stepping stone for us on the road to an equal and restorative community for all. 


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