Mario Aguja

mayongphotoMARIO “Mayong” J. AGUJA, Ph.D. is Professor at the Department of Sociology, Mindanao State University-General Santos City where he teaches undergraduate sociology courses on social change and development, sociological theory, and community organizing. He likewise teaches public policy at the graduate school. He was a member of the House of Representatives of the Philippines Congress representing Akbayan Party during the 12th and 13th Congress from2002 to 2007.. He is one of the principal authors of the law abolishing the death penalty and the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2006.

The Legislation that Ended the Death Penalty in 2006: Data, Debates and Alliances That Led to the Passage of RA 9346

The passage of RA 9346 in 2006 effectively abolished the death penalty in the Philippines through the repeal of RA 7659 and RA 8177. This paper analyzes the crucial circumstances surrounding the debates during the 13th Congress (2004-2007) that led to this legislation. It examines the data on the implementation of the death penalty prior to the abolition, the debates for and against its abolition, and the specific social and political contexts at the time when the debates unfolded. It also discusses the role of the key players in the debate, and their alliances and conflicts inside and outside of congress. Finally, the paper briefly tackles the current debates surrounding the re-imposition of the death penalty the attending social and political contexts.

The study utilizes secondary data such as congressional records, materials from campaign groups and published news articles. Supplementing the data are the author’s personal reflections based on his experience as member of the House of Representatives 13th congress and one of the principal authors of RA 9346. The paper argues that the sad state of the implementation of the death penalty during the years it was in place, the strong alliances that emerged for its abolition, and the social context borne out of the crisis of the unpopular Arroyo presidency made the passage of RA 9346 possible. While the players for the abolition of the death penalty are still much around, the recent call for the re-imposition of the death penalty by the populist Duterte administration is currently attended by a social political context that is far different than when it was abolished in 2006.