» 01/20/2011, 00.00
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.
Manila (AsiaNews/ Agencies) – Filipino Catholics oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty as proposed by some senators. It is inhuman and will disproportionately affect the weakest, making the country’s justice system even more dysfunctional.
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, urged the authorities to find a long-term solution to the problem rather going for a quick fix. “It’s about time that they look at the problem of enforcing the law instead of looking at the death penalty,” he said.
In one of the most corrupt countries in the world, capital punishment would increase the risks of judicial error. Instead, the law should be first enforced, then arrest should be certain, and finally you prosecute. “As long as these are not strengthened, we will always have people being able to run away with the crime that they have committed,” Diamante said.
Abolished after the fall of the late dictator Marcos in 1987, the death penalty was reintroduced and abolished several times since then.
The latest time came in 2006 when then President Gloria Arroyo had the law abolished just before her trip to the Vatican to meet Pope Benedict XVI.
However, a recent crime wave with its lot of murders and abductions has pushed some politicians and civil society leaders to demand its reintroduction, at least for the worst crimes.
Not everyone is convinced of the effectiveness of the death penalty. In fact, current President Beniño Aquino is among its opponents.
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