The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care on Tuesday rejected the revival of death penalty in the country.
In an interview, ECPPC chairman Legazpi Bishop Joel Baylon said capital punishment, in whatever form it comes, is never a deterrent to crime as proven by studies.
“With the death penalty justice is nothing but punishment, and never a way to reform the offender. But true justice is restorative never punitive.”
For his part, Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos said instead of reviving death penalty, the country should reform its justice system.
“What we must do is to reform our justice system that no one is above the law. There is no selective justice, no sacred cow too,” he said.
The vice chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People is also concerned that the country will lose its “moral authority” to beg for the life of imprisoned overseas Filipino workers.
“How can we appeal to a foreign country for our co-national sentenced to death penalty for life commutation or amnesty if we practice death penalty? With death penalty we lose moral authority and credibility to beg for life, to save lives of our imprisoned OFWs,” said Santos.
Besides, he said, since we owe our life to God, only He can take it.
Retired Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes echoed what Santos said about God being the only one who can take away life.
“The Catholic morality believes that only God can take away human life and that criminals should be given chance to amend their life, the greatest gift of God our creator,” he said.
Bastes said the country will also lose the honor of one of the nations which condemned death penalty if capital punishment is revived.
On Monday, President Duterte pushed for the return of death penalty by legal injection during his State of the Nation Address.
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