Rector on death penalty bill: ‘Go against the tide, promote culture of life’

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Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy O.P. leads the Ash Wednesday Mass in UST last March 1. File photo by Deejae S. Dumlao

UST Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. has called on the Thomasian community to join movements against the re-imposition of death penalty in the country by “going against the tide” and promoting a culture of life and respect for human dignity.

In a statement dated May 12, Dagohoy called the passage of House Bill 4727 or the death penalty bill in the House of Representatives a “step back from our vision of a just and humane society, a step back from believing that the problems of criminality and justice in the country can be solved without spilling blood.”

“As the culture of death threatens to engulf our society, we are called to go against this tide and instead, promote a culture of life and respect for human dignity. To this, we must continue to say no to the re-imposition of the death penalty,” he said.

Dagohoy called for meaningful and collective actions “that will convince our leaders to go against the ineffective policies that are inhumane and are against the protection of human life and dignity.”

The Rector urged University faculty and staff to conduct dialogues and discussion groups with students to raise awareness and a deeper understanding on the value and sacredness of human life.

Dagohoy also called for support for an online petition addressed to senators who are set to deliberate and vote on the death penalty bill soon.

“Work with us to creatively imagine and implement a justice system that is rehabilitative and restorative. Let us rise above violence and vindictiveness,” Dagohoy said in his letter to senators.

House Bill 4727 was passed on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives last March 7, with 217 congressmen voting in favor, 54 against, and one abstention.

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.

In an earlier report by the Varsitarian, Dagohoy called death penalty as a move “against life” and said UST supports the position of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

READ: Find alternatives to capital punishment, Rector urges lawmakers

Dagohoy had called on lawmakers to find alternatives to capital punishment and 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,” he said.

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