Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta yesterday expressed support for the proposed restoration of death penalty in the country.
Acosta, who was instrumental in the earlier abolition of capital punishment, admitted that she has changed her position on the issue.
Her change of heart comes amid reports that she is being considered for appointment to the Supreme Court.
“I noticed that heinous criminals like killers, rapists of children and drug traffickers have become bolder nowadays, as if they fear nothing at all. If the crime is extra heinous and the evidence is strong, why not revive the death penalty?” she explained.
It was Acosta who argued before the Supreme Court for the moratorium on the death penalty in the kidnapping for ransom case against Roderick Licayan and Roberto Lara in 2004.
Being lawyers of indigent litigants, Acosta said that the PAO would make sure that those who would be executed are really the guilty ones.
“If those to be executed are innocent or if we have new evidence to prove it, I will personally ask the President to stay the execution,” she vowed.
The PAO chief believes that the public should not worry about the revival of the death penalty because there would surely be safeguards to protect the innocent.
“We should instead be assured that only guilty heinous criminals would be punished. Otherwise, our society will not be safe,” she argued.
Congress should be allowed to pursue such measure, which Acosta said would have comprehensive debates anyway.
The House justice committee recently approved the committee report of the substitute bill for the restoration of the death penalty, which proposes three modes of execution – hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier committed to pass the bill to restore the death penalty before their Christmas break.
During his campaign for the May 2016 polls, President Duterte vowed to restore the death penalty as part of his anti-criminality platform.