Find alternatives to capital punishment, Rector urges lawmakers

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Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy leads the Eucharistic celebration on Ash Wednesday at the Plaza Mayor. Photo by Alvin Joseph Kasiban

UST Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. has spoken out against the restoration of death penalty in the Philippines, saying it is a move “against life.”

“The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) already issued a statement and we support them in this issue which [is] against life,” Dagohoy said in an interview with the Varsitarian.

Dagohoy said the government should “explore possible ways” other than the restoration of capital punishment as means of giving justice to victims of crimes.

“I think the government really has to explore other possible ways, because the Church looks at death penalty only as an ultimate and last resort when all other options have failed,” he said.

Dagohoy also called for reforms in the judicial system.

“That’s actually the position of the Church, [that] we to have reform our penal [and] judicial system, police and all these things so that those who are indeed guilty would be punished and those who are not would be free.”

House Bill No. 4727, which seeks to reinstate death penalty, was passed on second reading by the House of Representatives on Ash Wednesday, March 1.

Under the measure, crimes punishable by death include only drug-related offenses, as lawmakers voted to remove rape, plunder and treason as crimes covered by the bill.

Voting on third and final reading was set on Wednesday next week, March 8.

‘No person beyond redemption’

In a statement last Jan. 31, CBCP President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas reiterated the Catholic Church’s stand that “no person is beyond redemption.”

“Though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever giving up on any person,” Villegas said.

He added that “when we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process.”

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