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Bishops stand firm against death penalty

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Philippine bishops celebrating the Eucharist during their plenary assembly held January 2017 (Photo by CBCPNews)

MANILA, Jan. 30, 2017– Violence against violence? It won’t solve anything, the country’s Catholic bishops have warned Monday.

In a statement released after their 3-day plenary assembly in Manila, the prelates said that the death penalty is no different from the crime it punishes.

That’s why it is regrettable, CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas said, that there are “strident efforts” to restore the capital punishment in the country.

“When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process,” he said.

“Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty,” said Villegas.

The release of the statement also coincided a day before the House of Representatives begins its plenary debates on the death penalty bill on January 31.

The measure allows courts to impose death as punishment for a wide range of heinous crimes, particularly drugs, rape and murder.

Villegas reiterated that the Gospel of life is at the heart of Jesus’ message.

“It is this Gospel we must preach. It is this Gospel that we must uphold,” Villegas said.

“We therefore unequivocally oppose proposals and moves to return the death penalty into the Philippine legal system.”

“Though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever giving up on any person,” he added. (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews)


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