Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Archbishop Socrates Villegas has called on lawmakers to reform the country’s criminal justice system instead of seeking to revive the death penalty.
Speaking at a prayer rally in San Carlos City, the Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop called capital punishment a “lazy” proposition, and the Philippine justice system “corrupt, slow, and one-sided.”
“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,” Villegas was quoted as saying by CBCP News.
“We are not protesting without a solution. We are protesting with an alternative. Reform the criminal justice system,” he added.
The death penalty bill at the House of Representatives passed committee-level approval by a 12-6 vote, sending it to the plenary for second and third reading.
But deliberations on the measure were postponed to next year by House leaders for a “full debate.”
Opposition lawmakers said the supermajority lacked the numbers.
Villegas said the Church was not being soft on crime and does not take for granted the plight of victims, but noted that killing criminals is not the solution to criminality.
“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,” he said.
“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,” Villegas added.
Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle said God did not give up on sinners and “neither should we,” condemning killings as “an act of hopelessness and despair.”
“Every life has hope. Every life has an opportunity to be transformed, if only we believe, if only we believe. Because the center of faith is not in the accomplishment of things. The center of faith is Jesus,” Tagle said in an Advent recollection last Sunday.
“May we not give up, especially on human lives and may we not give up on every single sinner. There is hope for transformation,” he added. TVJ
source : inquirer