By Christina Hermoso
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, together with the Free Legal Assistance Group, the Commission on Human Rights, and other members of the Anti-Death Penalty Task Force, have launched a handbook opposing the capital punishment and the drug war.
Titled “Tending Life,” the handbook features studies and articles backing the failure of death penalty to address criminality and the proliferation of illegal drugs.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the commission said, “any deprivation of the right to life will not gain justice for all.”
“Rendering the death penalty as a means to obtain justice simply does the opposite as recent history has proven,” Diamante said in a CBCP News post.
The anti-death penalty advocates recently marked the 12th anniversary of the abolition of the death penalty in the country with a holy mass. The group said they are keeping an eye on the Senate’s decision on the reimposition of the capital punishment.
Congress had already approved the death penalty bill in March 2017 but a similar measure has remained pending at the Senate.
“The death penalty has not deterred criminality and has even spurred more injustice by killing the innocent, those wrongly accused, those without proper defense, and those who have been deprived of the opportunity to reform and restore the injury they caused to others. This is because ours is a system of justice replete with human errors,” Diamante stressed.
Fr. Robert Reyes of the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP) in his homily said, the revival of the capital punishment will not make a difference because extrajudicial killings are already prevalent under the Duterte administration.
“People are getting used to the absence of due process, there are killings left and right,” the priest said.
Diamante reiterated the Church’s appeal to lawmakers to use restorative justice as an alternative to deter criminality. “While our justice system seeks to punish the wrongdoer, it should move beyond punishment and seek healing of all stakeholders, the victim, the offender, and the society we live in,” he said.