Death penalty ‘lazy’ approach— Archbishop Soc

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Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan

MANILA, Dec. 12, 2016— There is definitely a case for overhauling the criminal justice system instead of reimposing capital punishment, which, said a Catholic archbishop, is a “lazy” solution.

“Cleanse the police ranks! Fix all the courts! Tighten (the security) at the Bilibid and other prisons. Death penalty is a lazy form of penalty instead of helping reform those who made mistakes,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan at a prayer rally in San Carlos City.

The prelate said the death penalty is unworkable while an efficient justice system is capable of controlling crime.

“We are not protesting without a solution. We are protesting with an alternative. Reform the criminal justice system,” said Villegas.

The archbishop said the government must urgently fix the underlying issues that still drive people to crime.

According to him, death penalty in the context of an imperfect justice system creates a lethal mix where the poor always suffer and politicians and powerful figures often get away with crimes.

“If there’s death penalty but the criminal justice system is corrupt, slow and one-sided, rapist and plunderer, and pusher and killer will remain confident (to commit crime). It’s business as usual,” he said.

Villegas also argued that court officials are only human, they make honest mistakes, and other influences may distract or even conflict with the impartial administration of justice.

When a mistake is made in the capital punishment process, an innocent person may be executed by the state and such error can no longer be corrected.

The prelate also refuted claims that the Church is being soft on crime for opposing the death penalty.

He said they are against crime and the Church doesn’t take for granted the pain felt by the victims of crimes.

“But the solution is not killing criminals. Our alternative is fullness of life for the guilty and the innocent. Fullness of life for the poor and the rich. Fullness of life for sinners and saints,” said Villegas.

He added: “Christ died for the criminals and the victims. The love of God is for all. Our love should be like God’s love. For all.” (Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews) 

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