In the Visayas, Church drive vs death penalty heats up
ILOILO CITY—The Catholic Church and human rights advocates on Panay and Negros Islands have stepped up their campaign against a move by the largely pro-Duterte House of Representatives to restore the death penalty.
Msgr. Meliton Oso, executive director of the Jaro Archdiocese Social Action Center (Jasac), said the center had sent copies of a letter pleading to legislators representing Panay and Negros to vote against the bill to restore the death penalty, which critics said was being railroaded in the House.
The letter, signed by Oso and 30 staffers of Jasac, pleaded to the legislators to “argue intelligently” against the restoration of the death penalty.
Copies of the letter were sent to Guimaras Rep. Ma. Lucille Nava, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and Iloilo Representatives Oscar Garin Jr., Arcadio Gorriceta, Arthur Defensor Jr., Ferjenel Biron and Raul Tupas.
The Church leaders said the drug menace could not be solved if its root was not identified and addressed.
“The deep root of the drug problem and criminality is poverty … the destruction of family and corruption in society,” said the Jasac letter, quoting from a statement of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Groups opposed to restoring the death penalty went on an awareness campaign in Negros Occidental.
In Talisay City, the Commission on Human Rights held a community dialogue on the issue.
The Catholic group Pax Christi Institute in Bacolod City opposed the death penalty, expressing fears about wrongful convictions under a corrupt justice system.
“There is no clear evidence that the death penalty has a deterrent effect on crimes,” it said.
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