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Duterte Youth wants death penalty for heinous crimes

MANILA, Philippines – Party-list group Duterte Youth would push for the revival of the death penalty for heinous crimes if it wins a seat in the House of Representatives in the 2019 midterm elections.

Duterte Youth president Billy Villareal said on Tuesday, May 7, that the group is "determined" to sponsor a bill in the House seeking to revive the death penalty, a punishment backed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

"We will sponsor the bill for the return of the death penalty in our country, specifically for rapists, heinous crimes, and terrorists. These crimes are not accidents, these are crimes that directly and intentionally assault our women, our people, and our country," Villareal said.

He cited the gruesome murder of Cebu teen Christine Silawan last March as an example.

Villareal also claimed that there are "so many" criminals committing heinous acts because the Philippines does not have the death penalty.

Various studies and the experiences of other countries have repeatedly shown, however, that there is no strong evidence that the death penalty deters crime.

In addition, data from the Philippines showed that the death penalty was error-prone and largely anti-poor.

'Questionable' advocacies

Election watchdog Kontra Daya earlier questioned the advocacies of Duterte Youth, saying the group does not seem to truly represent the concerns of young Filipinos. (READ: Poll watchdog asks Comelec to look into Duterte Youth's party list campaign)

The group's chair, National Youth Commission Chairman Ronald Cardema, earlier found himself in hot water after he proposed that "all rebellious anti-government scholars" should have their government scholarships removed.

Cardema also asked Sangguniang Kabataan officials nationwide to "fight" leftist youth groups.

Duterte Youth issued its statement on Tuesday as it said a Pulse Asia survey in April indicated it would get a House seat. The survey showed the group garnering 1% of voters' preference, which would give it one seat in the second round of seat allocation. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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