The Philippines stands poised to reinstate the death penalty after it was put on hold 11 years ago. The Church in the Philippines, which has grown more vocal in recent months, continues to oppose the measure that passed the Philippine House on the third and final reading on 7th March and is widely expected to move quickly through the Senate. This latest version specifically targets drug crimes.
Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, lamented that the lower House “has given its consent for the state to kill”.
“We, your bishops, are overcome with grief, but we are not defeated nor shall we be silenced,” Archbishop Villegas said.
“In the midst of Lent we prepare to celebrate the triumph of life over death, and while we grieve that the lower House has voted for death, our faith assures us that life will triumph,” he said.
At the same time, the archbishop called on the Filipinos who stand for life to continue the “spirited opposition” to the death penalty.
In the months and weeks leading up to the Congressional votes on the measure, the bishops’ conference has posted statements opposing the death penalty and led marches against it, reiterating that life is sacred and that the death penalty would not put an end to crime. Some leaders have also urged the faithful to go to their representatives and voice their opposition. The conference also signaled that should the death penalty become law again, it would support any effort to oppose the law at the Supreme Court level.
Picture: Participants carry a banner during a protest against plans to reimpose the death penalty, promote contraceptives and intensify the drug war during Walk for Life in Manila on 18th February. (CNS photo/Romeo Ranoco, Reuters).