THE HEAD of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has condemned anew the proposed revival of capital punishment in the country, arguing that the death penalty had killed “sinless and heroic” lives.
“Jesus Christ, Dr. Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are all victims of death penalty, and they are all innocent,” CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas told an Inquirer Multimedia forum last Feb. 13.
Villegas responded to the ex-Catholic Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s invocation of the Bible to defend capital punishment in a Jan. 23 privilege speech.
“When Christ died on the cross, he accepted death so there may be no more deaths like that. Yet the dyings [and] killings continue,” Villegas said.
Villegas also clarified that the CBCP did not make any reference to the Duterte administration in the recent pastoral letter read in all Catholic churches last Feb. 5.
“We did not make any reference to Malacañang. We did not make reference to the President because we wanted to treat the issue of killings as a moral issue,” he said.
The CBCP president said “the drug problem in the country is only a symptom of a deeper problem, which is poverty.”
“The biggest problem of the Philippines is still poverty. If you look at the drug problem all by itself, we might not be able to solve it,” he said.
Villegas lauded the government’s campaign to eradicate illegal drugs but maintained that killings won’t resolve it.
“Killing will just create a culture of revenge, a culture of disregard of rights for human beings,” he said.