03/03/2017, 14.09
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Filipino bishops issue last appeal as death penalty set to be approved

The bill passed a second reading yesterday. Tuesday, March 7 final approval. The Church calls MPs to Christian values ​​and oppose the norm. The bishops call for a roll call vote. Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle: "Human life is a gift from God, we cannot pretend to be gods."


Manila (AsiaNews / CBCP) - On the occasion of Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, the Filipino bishops have launched a last appeal to lawmakers asking them to oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty for drug-related crimes.

The government intends to ratify the bill on 7 March, in its third and final reading. The representatives of the Church have also urged the parliamentarians to express their views in a roll call vote.

Msgr. Broderick S. Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, also criticized the legislative assembly chosen to approve on second reading with a voice vote (anonymous), of the measure re-introducing capital punishment.

"The lower House has chosen death and not life. They were even afraid to be identified. They refused nominal voting,” he said.

Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said yesterday’s passage of the bill was largely expected. “They have chosen the path to death instead of standing for life in this season of Lent”.

Ramon Arguelles, archbishop emeritus of Lipa, has also said it is ironic that the measure was approved on Ash Wednesday, "the first day of a time of conversion from evil". The prelate added: "Lawmakers choose to go against the Word of God. They choose death in the name of the people".

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila had earlier stated, in his call for parliamentarians to reject the death penalty, that men cannot pretend to be gods. He recalled that human life is a gift from God, because every person is created in His image and that every human being is saved by Jesus Christ. "In the presence of God, the source of life, we are humble. We cannot pretend to be gods - wrote Tagle.

"This is why - warned the cardinal - that ethic of life, a culture of life, is not consistent with abortion, euthanasia, human trafficking, mutilation and violence against innocent people and vulnerable. "

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