A Commission on Human Rights (CHR) study found that 7 out of 10 Filipinos do not support death penalty if alternative forms of punishment exist.
Solons looking to revive the death penalty claim strong public backing based on national surveys; however, these surveys mask certain facts, primarily that Filipinos formed such opinions based on reportedly flawed research on capital punishment.
The study further showed that they only preferred death penalty under the condition that those convicted committed heinous crimes. The majority chose reparative payments or prolonged sentences when presented with those options.
They also opted for prison terms for serious drug offenders, which, considering Pres. Duterte’s approach in the war against drugs showed that the public support for death penalty may just be the policy to which the government is inclined, because there were no other solutions presented for punishment.
According to CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit, the study revealed that “if people are given options, their responses will be more diverse and can convey what they truly believe in.”
The study was commissioned as early as 2018 in collaboration with the Australian National University and used “deliberative polling” which determined participants’ thought processes, instead of asking them outright what they thought about death penalty.
Photo: Amnesty International