• Duterte plans to ask Congress to revive the death penalty
  • The CBCP and CHR said they will block Duterte’s plan
  • CHR Chairman Luis Martin Gascon said the death penalty is not an effective deterrent to crime

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the Commission on Human Rights said they will oppose incoming President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to ask Congress to re-impose the death penalty.

InterAksyon noted that according to Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, the CBCP’s president, Dagupan-Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas, will seek an audience with Duterte to talk him out of his planned death penalty re-imposition.

Duterte on Sunday, May 15, told reporters of his plan to ask Congress to restore death penalty on heinous crimes.

Archbishop Arguelles said Duterte may have been just “true to himself” when he made the remark, but death penalty should not be the solution.

“He is true to himself but not to God. In the Year of Mercy, Catholics in the Philippines will be merciless,” the prelate said, adding he will volunteer to be executed in place of all those the government will hang in case they fail to persuade Duterte from reviving the death penalty.

Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos suggested that instead of trying to revive the death penalty , Duterte should just use his power and influence to “push reforms in the justice system in the country, to ensure the guilty are prosecuted and punished and victims get their due.”

“Life is scared. Life has promoted, respected and protected. It is the prisons they have to reform. It is the justice system that they have to review,” Bishop Santos said.

CHR Chairman Luis Martin Gascon said the CHR’s position on death penalty is that it is contrary to human dignity and human rights. HE said the commission is against it because of the weak justice system in the country.

“Sa isang weak justice system na maraming loophole, madalas ang resulta ay may mga napapatawan ng capital punishment ay maaaring later on ay mapatunayan na hindi pala nagkasala,” he explained

[There are many loopholes in a weak justice system. Often, the result is that there will be those who will be meted the capital punishment but will be found innocent later on].

Gascon added death penalty is not an effective crime deterrent and cited that the global trend is for the abolition of capital punishment.