Death penalty will bring ‘great shame’ to PH—archbishop
The president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said on Monday that the restoration of death penalty will bring “great shame” to the Philippines as a Catholic nation.
“It will be great shame that as we celebrate 500 years of Catholic faith in the Philippines, in the 9-year preparation of it, the death penalty will be restored,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said during a Meet Inquirer Multimedia forum.
“It is going to cause us great shame as a nation because it is certainly contrary to the Catholic faith that we have received,” he said.
The CBCP is currently preparing for the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Catholicism in the Philippines.
Nevertheless, Villegas pointed out that priests “are not Congress lobbyists.”
If the death penalty bill passes Congress, he said their role is “to disturb consciences.”
“At the end of the day, I hope the Speaker (Pantaleon Alvarez) will allow a conscience vote for the death penalty,” the archbishop said.
Alvarez, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, has been forcing a vote on the death penalty, to the point of forcing congressmen to let go of their leadership positions if they oppose the bill.
There are several bills in Congress proposing death penalty on heinous crimes and drug offenses.
Villegas said that if “conscience will be allowed to prevail over party lines, it will be a moment of glory for our legislators because it is the triumph of conscience over party lines.”
He said instead of reviving the death penalty, they are suggesting an “aggressive reform of the justice system.”
“With all of these reforms I think we will be at the right track without having to kill criminals by mistake,” he said. “Because who are we to make a decision on the guilt and innocence of another person?”
Villegas argued that if an innocent person is mistakenly killed, you cannot apologize or undo it. RAM
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