MANILA, Oct. 10, 2016 — The Catholic Church’s prison ministry urged President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies in Congress to stop giving Filipinos “false hope” that death penalty will solve crimes.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said the move to reinstate death penalty will never be an effective deterrent to crime.
He said the reimposition of capital punishment will be an “affront” to human dignity and called the government to avoid “quick fix solution” to crimes.
Quick fix solution
“We appeal to the President and our lawmakers not to resort to a quick fix solution to the problem of criminality and stop giving us false hope that we will be safe and secure by putting people to death,” he said.
The prison ministry on Monday marked the annual observance of the World Day Against the Death Penalty with a Mass held at the CBCP chapel in Intramuros, Manila.
Diamante said the activity was aimed to underscore the Church’s firm commitment against executions in the country.
Death penalty, according to him, is the “easy way out” of addressing the “complex and pervasive” problems of criminality.
Not the answer
“It is no more the answer for violent crime than abortion is the answer for unplanned pregnancies. Death is never the answer,” stressed Diamante.
He also said capital punishment and the unabated killings going on are a “travesty for efficiency in fighting criminality” and, therefore, “an effective tool for politicking.”
Astute politicians, he said, will carry the cause of death for the convicted not because they believe in it as an appropriate national policy but because it is a popular cause.
“And yet the popular is not necessarily correct,” Diamante added.
He said there is no doubt the country is plagued by criminality of all forms and magnitude, and the Church acknowledges the depth and sincerity of many people’s concern about the problem.
‘Clearest reflection of God’
“However, as Christians, we are called to uphold and proclaim a set of moral principles and social teachings at the heart of which is the knowledge that the human person is central, the clearest reflection of God among us,” he said.
“Human life is inherently precious and those who commit crimes do not give up their human dignity,” Diamante said.
President Duterte is seeking the restoration of the death penalty in his war against illegal drugs and other crimes. (CBCPNews)