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Bishops stand firm vs. death penalty

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

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

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

No perpetrators of violence

“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 coincided with the day before the House of Representatives’ plenary debates on the death penalty bill, on Jan.31.

‘Gospel of life’

The measure allows courts to impose death as punishment for a wide range of heinous crimes, particularly illegal 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,” said the prelate.

“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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