PhilRights has also been working on issues concerning the Philippine criminal justice system. In recent years, advocacy was focused on the abolition of the death penalty. Researches have also been undertaken exploring the application of restorative justice framework and practices in the country’s criminal justice system.
Through the national network Mamamayang Tutol sa Bitay – Movement for Restorative Justice (MTB-MRJ) that PhilRights organized in 2004, the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty was strengthened. Information dissemination, educational and training activities, conferences, and studies conducted by PhilRights contributed to a broader support for the repeal of the death penalty law. The campaign stressed the issue of death penalty as a violation of the right to life as well as its anti-poor bias. Also emphasized were the arguments that the death penalty does not deter criminality. The campaigns contributed to shifts in public consciousness regarding the punitive character of the country’s criminal justice system, and bore fruit when R.A. 7659 (The Death Penalty Law) was finally repealed in mid-2006.
Following the victory over the repeal of R.A. 7659, PhilRights is now focused on the bigger task of popularizing the concept of restorative justice among the pillars of the justice system.