Filipinos' support for death penalty wanes – survey
MANILA, Philippines – Public support for the reimposition of the death penalty in the country has waned in the first quarter of 2017, though a majority of Filipinos still favor it, a Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey released on Friday, May 5, said.
Compared to July 2016, Pulse Asia's Ulat ng Bayan Survey held from March 15 to 20, 2017 showed that Filipinos' support for the reimposition of the death penalty on heinous crimes dropped by 14 percentage points – from 81% in July 2016 to 67% in March 2017.
Those who opposed the death penalty rose to 25% in March from 11% in July 2016, while the undecided remained at 8%.
The nationwide survey on 1,200 respondents has a ± 3% error margin at a 95% confidence level. Subnational estimates for geographic areas have a ± 6% error margin, also at 95% confidence level.
Among geographical areas, the biggest drop in support for the death penalty was in Balance Luzon – down to 61% from 82%, lower by 21 percentage points.
Rape, top choice among crimes punishable by death
When the pro-death penalty respondents were asked what crimes should be punished by death, 97% cited rape, statistically unchanged from the 96% in July 2016.
This was followed by murder (88%), and drug pushing (71%).
There were fewer who thought the death penalty should apply to those convicted of kidnap-for-ransom (46%) and plunder (33%).
"However, most Metro Manilans (55%), Visayans (59%), and those in Class ABC (57%) support the imposition of capital punishment for kidnap-for-ransom and plunder while a bare majority of those in Class ABC (51%) are in favor of the death penalty in plunder cases," said Pulse Asia president Ronald Holmes.
Holmes also cited other findings on the survey results:
- More Visayans support imposing the death penalty for murder cases than in July 2016 (91% versus 75%)
- Support for the death penalty for kidnap-for-ransom declines in the rest of Luzon (-13 percentage points) but goes up in the Visayas (+20 percentage points)
- More Visayans favor meting the death penalty for plunder compared to July 2016 (40% versus 27%)
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey held in late March showed that 61% of Filipinos favor the death penalty bill seeking to reimpose capital punishment for 7 drug offenses.
The House of Representatives has passed the death penalty bill, a priority measure of the Duterte administration, but it covers only drug offenses. The House of Representatives had removed rape, plunder, and treason from the list in the final version of the measure.
The measure is expected to encounter tougher times at the Senate, where at least 13 senators are reportedly opposed to it. (READ: Death penalty bill already 'dead' in the Senate – Drilon)
In the weeks leading to the Pulse Asia survey, and during the poll period, among the dominant issues were the filing of the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, and the threat of an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Others events included the testimony of retired Senior Police Officer 3 Arturo Lascañas, another self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad, before a Senate inquiry that Duterte ordered extrajudicial killings in Davao City when he was mayor; and the Senate investigation into the kidnap and death of South Korean businessmen Jee Ick Joo inside Camp Crame. – Rappler.com