The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Philippine bishops’ conference welcomed the announcement of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson that they retract their support for the proposed revival of the death penalty in the country.
“Coming from two prominent and veteran legislators, this will boost the Church’s advocacy against any moves to reintroduce capital punishment in our statute books,” said Bishop Joel Baylon, chairman of the commission.
Lacson and Sotto, who are running as president and vice president, respectively, in next year’s national elections earlier said they are now against the death penalty even after seeking for its reimposition as legislators in recent years.
Bishop Baylon said the capital punishment “is not and will never be a solution to crime,” adding that it is “punitive and disregards the dignity, which is inherent in every human person.”
“We maintain that it is not the severity of punishment, but the certainty that a person, who commits a crime, will be held accountable for his acts and omissions, is what will deter crime,” said the prelate.
He said the penal system that is needed in the country is one that allows individuals to be reformed.
“A reform-based corrections program and sanctions, which promote rehabilitation and accept that every human being has the capacity to reform no matter how heinous his or her crime, is, to our mind, what true justice should be,” said Bishop Baylon in a statement.
Media reports said Lacson stirred social media discussions after he announced that he is no longer for the death penalty, considering that he was once one of the most prominent voices on restoring capital punishment.