The National Council of Churches in the Philippines reiterated its stand against the reimposition of the death penalty in the country.
Bishop Reuel Marigza, general secretary of the Protestant council, said the people “have been crying for life amid the pandemic …, death penalty is definitely not the answer to this plea.”
In his fifth State of the Nation Address on July 27, President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress to enact a law that would allow the “death penalty by lethal injection” for drug-related crimes.
Bishop Marigza said the revival of capital punishment could lead to “further human rights violations, most especially in the context of the false and bloody war on drugs.”
“As the administration continues to speak the language of death, we, churches, stand firm on the call and assertion of life. We remain adamant in our strong objection to death penalty,” said the prelate.
The Protestant council’s 14th General Convention in November 1989 cited the grounds why it opposes death penalty.
The Convention said that capital punishment “violates the right to life and is an ultimate, cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”
It said that “its imposition and infliction is brutalizing to all who are involved in the process.”
“It is irrevocable and can be inflicted on the innocent and it is unnecessary in an enlightened penal policy which emphasizes the rehabilitation of offenders rather than retribution,” the Convention said.
Bishop Marigza reminded the Philippine government of its commitment to the international human rights treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“The right to life is at the center of all of these agreements, to reinstate the death penalty would not just be a breach to these international laws, and there are sanctions involved in its reimposition,” he said.
He urged Duterte to “preach justice by upholding life in the midst of a global health crisis.”