Dr. Diana Therese M. Veloso is Assistant Professor and the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator at the Behavioral Science Department, La Salle University. She completed her Ph.D. in Sociology at Loyola University Chicago. She has conducted research on the life histories and issues of women formerly on death row in the Philippines and the reentry experiences and challenges of formerly incarcerated women in Chicago, Illinois. She served as the lead researcher in two studies on serious and organized crime threats in the Philippines, as commissioned by the National Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee-Subcommittee on Organized Crime (NALECC-SCOC). She was a consultant in a nationwide evaluation of the interventions and rehabilitation programs for children in conflict with the law (CICL) in the Philippines. She has also conducted research on gender-based violence among internally displaced people (IDPs) in Zamboanga City.
Negotiating Culpability and Blamelessness: Narratives of Women Formerly on Death Row
This study exposes the experiences and social worlds of women who were once sentenced to capital punishment in the Philippines. The study delved into the women’s pathways to prison, focusing on how they framed the circumstances that brought them in contact with the criminal justice system, based on their perspectives on their identities, relationships, and social worlds. The study analyzed the link between the women’s prior experiences of victimization, social and economic marginalization, and substance abuse issues and their crimes. This research also examined how deception and betrayal in close relationships, compounded by corruption in the criminal justice system, led the majority of the women to death row.
The women in this study largely occupied marginalized positions in their families and relationships, at work, and in society in general, on account of their gender, social class, and race and ethnicity, compounded by institutional corruption in a postcolonial nation. Convicted of crimes resulting from their efforts to survive and cope with their circumstances, their narratives reflect many facets and social realities of low-income and working class culture in Philippine society. Their accounts of victimization, violence against specific men and even women and children, drug abuse and/or drug dealing, and cooperation with illegal activities reflect the burden of their relational responsibilities and their social and economic marginalization. While negotiating culpability and blamelessness for their criminal conviction, the women’s narratives of fatalism and passivity illuminate the dynamics of their conflict-ridden world amidst corruption in government and law enforcement agencies and in the face of injustice.