by Elvyra Gel Olazo
Does the end justify the means?
A man was found guilty in September 1994 on two counts of the incestuous rape of his daughter. His sentence was execution by lethal injection. June 25 1999, a Roman Catholic bishop appealed for him to be spared. The most powerful man in the Philippines wavered in his decision. Calls were made. Calls that never came. An aide was dispatched to call on the official palace hotline.
A cocktail of sodium pentothal, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride coursed through convicted veins. The aide’s call had got through 12 minutes past three. Eduardo Agbayani had been pronounced dead a minute earlier.
Murder, rape, treason, and drug trafficking were crimes subjected to capital punishment back in the days were justice was best served cold. The Philippines used the electric chair until 1976, when execution by firing squad eventually replaced it as the sole method of execution. Until its first abolition in 1987, the country reverted to using death by firing squad. Six years later, death penalty was re-introduced with lethal injection as its sole method of execution.
The Philippines reaffirmed its commitment against capital punishment at the 5th World Congress Against Death Penalty, in a “strongly worded” speech last June 12, in Madrid, Spain.Presidents before advocated the ultimate penalty. President Aquino thinks otherwise. The President stated that he was not in favor of the revival of the death penalty due to the country’s imperfect justice. He was concerned that the state might execute the wrong person. I guess it’s safe to say that vengeance is not his. Vengeance through execution, that is.
“Every person is equal before the law, and that each life holds intrinsic value, which no person – no State – can or should take. I believe that imposing the death penalty cannot fully deter crime. I believe in a system where each citizen is empowered to take hold his destiny, enabling him to uplift his family, community, and nation,” – Justice Secretary Leila De Lima said at the 5th World Congress on behalf of President Benigno Aquino III
On the other hand, Senator Vicente Sotto III earlier proposed a measure that will reportedly revive the death penalty in drug-related cases. Senate Bill No. 1 authored by Sotto proposes to re-impose death penalty in drug-related cases comes in the wake of the execution of a Filipino drug mule in China.
After reading that article in Dokumentaryo ni Juan Tagalog, I’m not so certain about my stand on death penalty is. At first I was sure that I wanted it back, but now, I’m not so sure anymore. Hate the sin, not the sinner: easy to say, hard to do. Even if we bury the bad things in our hearts, the scars will always be there to remind us of how fragile we are us humans.
“The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.” – V, V for Vendetta
The big question is: Does the end justify the means? V’s ultimate goal was to vindicate the vigilant and virtuous by eliminating the roots of evil. But his means were through killing, his mind was filled with vengeance, and he took the law into his hands. Although the problem he faced was that there was no court for men like Prothero and so he solved the matter with the only way he knew how.
Death is the mean and justice is the end in both cases. My professor in philosophy once said that the end never justifies the mean. He knows philosophy and I should believe what he said but I can’t. Sometimes we really can’t rely on being complacent about things and we need to do what it takes to get to those ends that want.
The way I see means to an end, it’s a battle of what is morally, legally, and combined with one’s own personal judgment on what is right. I can’t tell you what or what not to believe in. We have to rely on our gut instincts to tell us what to do.
Accept, be quiet, or challenge. Accept things as they are with openness and gratification. Stay oblivious and indifferent to what is happening. Or be sceptical boy/girl and challenge the world around you. That is our power to choose whether the end justify the means.
Photos: 9gag, Google