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Public favors, Church against death penalty

Public favors, Church against death penalty

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Public favors, Church against death penalty

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Boholanos expressed favor on the move to re-impose the death penalty in the country as highlighted during the 4th State of the Nation Address of Pres. Duterte last Monday.

A radio survey conducted by top-rated “InyongAlagad” radio program of dyRD last Tuesday showed 81% in favor of the re-imposition of the death penalty. Of those who favored, 100% pointed out that it should be imposed only in drug-related cases.

Majority of the phone respondents said the death penalty can become a strong warning to those who continue to engage in drugs. However, they were quick to say that “due process” should be exerted once this will be implemented.  They even expressed a slight apprehension if the re-imposition of the death penalty might be abused by the authorities.

Those who objected the proposed move of the President said it remains inhuman to take the lives of people as it is only the Maker who can take it back.

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Bishop Alberto Uy and Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon echoed the Church’s stand against death penalty.

CBCP STAND

The two bishops cited the stand of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP):

“No doubt, the death penalty has been in existence in many countries all over the world.  It is often justified by a principle of justice based on retribution–“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:3), which Jesus challenged and replaced with the higher principle of non-retaliation of evil for evil, with justice founded on mercy (Luke 6:36). We know from history how capital punishment has so often been used by repressive governments as a way of stifling dissent, or of eliminating those whom they regarded as threats to their hold on political power.  Think, for instance why Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded, or why Pilate had Jesus crucified. Think of the thousands of Christian martyrs who were put to death for sheer hatred for the faith.

To the people who use the Bible to defend the death penalty, need we point out how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible? We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a progressive revelation of God’s will to humankind, with its ultimate fulfilment in Jesus Christ, God’s definitive Word to the world. He came “not to abolish the law but to bring it to fulfilment” (Matthew 5:17).  Jesus was never an advocate of any form of “legal killing”. He defended the adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her (John 8:7).

Even with the best of intentions, capital punishment has never been proven effective as a deterrent to crime.  Obviously, it is easier to eliminate criminals than to get rid of the root causes of criminality in society.  Capital punishment and a flawed legal system are always a lethal mix.  And since in any human society there is never a guarantee of a flawless legal system, there is always the great likelihood that those without capital will get the punishment more quickly because it is they who cannot afford a good lawyer and a guarantee of due process.  As a law, death penalty directly contradicts the principle of inalienability of the basic human right to life, which is enshrined in most constitutions of countries that signed the universal declaration of human rights.

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Let us pray fervently for the legislators of our country as they prepare to vote on the death penalty in the Philippine Senate.  Let us offer all our Masses for them, asking our Crucified Lord who offered his whole life, body and blood, for the salvation of sinners, to touch their consciences and lead them to abolish capital punishment once and for all.”

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