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  • » 01/16/2004, 00.00


    Bishops: Capital punishment is government's thirst for death

    Manila (AsiaNews) – Today Manila's Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales together with Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former president of the Philippine Bishops' Conference, said the government's reinstatement of capital punishment is immoral and inhumane. Archbishop Cruz's words , however, were more poignant.

    In a statement entitled "Kill!", Msgr. Cruz harshly criticized that the government's "thirst for the death even of criminals is not human; … (it) is incapable of keeping law and order."

    He said that "actions" should be punishable by law, not the "lives" of individuals.

    "The difference between a criminal and a saint consists in their actions: their individual life is exactly the same," Archbishop Cruz said. "It is therefore their 'actions' that should be penalized or pardoned; it is not their 'lives' that should be terminated or prolonged."

    Msgr. Cruz sustained that capital punishment must be repealed by all means. But, in the meantime, he urged national leaders to exercise their prerogative to speak out against "abominable" state executions: "It's not simply a matter of political will, but an ethical imperative."

    He blamed the reinstatement of capital punishment on a country promoting a "culture of death", whose leaders invoke the government to kill its very own citizens.

    Archbishop Cruz's statement came after 13 European ambassadors visited death row inmates yesterday at the Philippine National Penitentiary. At a press conference held afterward, the diplomats reiterated their dismay for the government's choice to reinstate the death penalty. They said many governments around the world have already dismissed it as legal form of punishment, stating that killing persons does not deter crimes.

    Ambassador Jan de Kok, head of the European Union delegation to the Philippines, said: "The EU does not dispute the seriousness of the crimes for which individuals are convicted…. However, the EU remains convinced that the death penalty provides no added value in terms of deterrence. In addition, (any) miscarriage of justice would be irreversible."

    Currently there are 1,005 persons on death row in the Philippines, among whom 17 are foreigners (many charged for illegal drug dealings) and 29 women, eight being over 60 years of age and sentenced for illegal drug-related crimes. Two men on death row are charged with kidnapping and are scheduled for execution by lethal injection this Jan. 30. A total of 158 violent kidnappings were recorded in 2003.

    The government imposed the death penalty on the two men charged with violent kidnapping, believing that their execution will help put a stop to such abductions in the country. The archbishop responded in harsh terms, stating that "if but one kidnapping occur after their scheduled executions, the government had better renounce governance." (SE)
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    See also

    14/01/2004 philippines
    Bishops ask presidential candidates to say "no" to death penalty

    24/06/2016 13:39:00 PHILIPPINES
    Trafficking in human beings "is the cruelest of crimes. But it should not be punished with execution"

    The president of the Filipino bishops' Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People, Msgr. Ruperto Santos, responds to the new government that wants to include human trafficking in the list of crimes punishable with death. Trafficking "is a barbaric act that violates the very nature of man. But it is fought with serious investigation and severe punishment, up to life imprisonment. No man can kill another man in the name of the law".

    08/11/2008 PAKISTAN
    Pakistani Church against death penalty for cyber terrorists
    The law signed by President Zardari includes the possibility of the death penalty for those found guilty of terrorism using the internet and computers. The justice and peace commission warns the government: "brutal punishments cannot correct or redeem our society." Criticism also from the human rights commission: this increases distrust of the judicial system.

    11/10/2017 08:58:00 UN - ASIA
    U.N. Chief says death penalty has 'no place in 21st century’

    He urged member states that still carry out executions to join the 170 countries that have halted or abolished the practice. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions. In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 per cent from 2015. The risk of a miscarriage of justice is an "unacceptably high price" to pay.


    20/01/2011 PHILIPPINES
    Filipino Catholics oppose return of the death penalty
    Capital punishment was abolished in 2006. For the secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, other means are available to prevent crimes and uphold the law, which is often broken because of the country’s high level of corruption and impunity.

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