MANILA—The Philippine government is doing its best to improve peace and order to make this country haven of tourists and foreign investors, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr., on Thursday said.
In a press briefing during the get together with media at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, Yasay said the comments made by British Ambassador Asif Ahmad wasas not accurate.“Change has come to the Philippines for the better. I think change has come to the Philippines because we have a President that is committed to make real and meaningful change happen as it is happening today,” Yasay told reporters covering Department of Foreign Affairs.
“I don’t know why he says that change is happening in a negative way. I can see a lot of positive effects of the actions we have taken to make change happen,” he added.
Ahmad earlier said that since Philippines is one of the signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which committed the country not to impose death penalty.
Yasay pointed out that there were some side effects and downside of that change but these were things that “we were trying to manage.”
“These are things that we manage in a manner that they would not overpower the positive results and benefits that we are trying to pursue,” he explained.
“The question of death penalty, I’m not too sure why the good ambassador has made mention about that statement. Maybe he was referring to the context of their own experience in the UK,” he added.
According to Yasay, treaties have the same force and effect of laws. The treaty as laws cannot supervene over paramount or override the Constitution of a country.
“We have a constitution that doesn’t prohibit the death penalty. We have in fact a Constitution that mandates Congress with the duty of making sure that if it feel as appropriate at a given time of our history to impose the death, that can be done.,” he explained.
He said Congress was deliberating on that issue and if Congress deliberated on that issue “it has not made a final decision on it.”
“Therefore, a statement like this to my mind is really putting the cart infront of the horse, in a manner of speaking. it is premature. Let’s see and find out the true justifications, if at all it will be imposed, is going to be imposed,” he stressed.
“We have a good argument in saying that the reason why the death penalty as a deterrent to crime has not been effective is precisely because of our equivocation about the imposition of death penalty,” he said.
“We impose it on one hand and then by executive order we say, we should not implement it. This equivocation has encourage ruthless criminals like drug lords, criminal syndicates, terrorists to precisely capitalize on that weakness that we have shown,” he noted.
It was for this reason, he said, that he thought Congress was trying to deliberate, whether it was in the paramount national interest to reinstate the death penalty.
“And if so decides, nobody, specially somebody outside of our country can interfere with that domestic decision,” he said.