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Duterte: Death penalty is a deterrent vs heinous crimes

Pia Ranada
Duterte: Death penalty is a deterrent vs heinous crimes
As Congress deliberates on the revival of capital punishment, the President insists his administration's enforcement of the death penalty will be effective

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – As Congress debates the revival of the death penalty, President Rodrigo Duterte again expressed his support for the measure, saying it’s an effective deterrent against heinous crimes.

“Now that there is no death penalty, an increase of 3,000% (people convicted of heinous crimes). And they say it’s not a deterrent?” said Duterte during his acceptance of the Manila Times Man of the Year Award on Friday, February 10.

Duterte took out his briefer on the death penalty in the middle of his speech to read out figures cited in media reports about congressional deliberations on it. 

According to the Bureau of Corrections, the number of people convicted of heinous crimes after the abolition of the death penalty in 2006 rose by 3,180%.

“BuCor (Bureau of Corrections) Director Benjamin delos Santos said there were 189 inmates convicted of heinous crimes before the capital punishement was abolished in 2006,” read Duterte.

“After death penalty was revoked this figure rose to 6,200 inmates, an astonishing (3,180%) increase of persons convicted of heinous crimes,” he added, still reading.

(The media report Duterte read out erroneously cited the figure of 3,280%.)

Aside from these figures, Duterte is confident that his administration’s enforcement of the death penalty, if it is revived, will be more effective compared to the enforcement by previous administrations.

Sabi nila na, noong nandoon ‘yung death penalty, walang nangyari. Hindi kasi ako ang presidente,” he said. (They said, when the death penalty was there, nothing happened. It’s because I wasn’t the President then.)

Ibalik mo ‘yan, ako pa yung presidente, gawin kong kurtina ‘yang mga buwang diyan sa puno. Bitayin mo,” said Duterte, who supports death by hanging as a form of capital punishment.

(Bring it back and I am president, I’ll turn those idiots into a curtain on trees. Hang them.)

Since the presidential campaign, Duterte has declared support for the return of the death penalty. 

Before assuming the presidency, Duterte said, while other death penalty supporters see it as a deterrent, he sees it primarily as a way of exacting retribution.

Duterte’s allies in Congress, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senator Manny Pacquiao, have filed bills seeking the revival of the death penalty. –


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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at