Anti-death penalty advocates, lawmakers gather in UST

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HUNDREDS of protesters from various groups trooped to the University on May 21 to protest the planned re-imposition of death penalty in the country.

The protesters assembled at Mabuhay Rotonda in Quezon City and marched to the Plaza Mayor in UST, where a program and Eucharistic celebration was held.

Present at the event were senators Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV, and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, and Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon.

Hontiveros likened the death penalty to the Duterte administration’s violent anti-drug campaign, which she described as “unjust” and “anti-poor.”

“Ang parusang kamatayan ay kamatayan ng ating katarungan. Katulad ng extrajudicial killings, ang kaya lamang nito patayin ay mga mahihirap at walang sala, hindi ang krimen at ilegal na droga,” Hontiveros said.

Aquino urged Filipinos to convince their fellow countrymen to oppose death penalty.

“Hindi po sapat na kumbinsihin natin ang ating mga lehislador, kailangan pong ‘yung taumbayan ang kumbinsehin natin,” Aquino said.

‘Restorative justice’Manila Auxillary Bishop Roderick Pabillo called for “restorative justice” instead of the death penalty, which he said was contrary to Church teachings.

“Ang hinahanap nating justice dapat ay restorative justice. Ang paghihiganti ay hindi bahagi ng mga turo ng Panginoon,” Pabillo said in his Homily during the Holy Mass at the Plaza Mayor.

The newly elected officers of the Central Student Council (CSC) vowed to participate in movements opposing the death penalty bill.

Secretary-elect Therese Gorospe said they plan to release a statement on the death penalty issue after consultations with the Central Board and local student councils.

“Kasi hindi lang kami ang bumubuo ng CSC. Kailangan din naming marinig ‘yung boses mga presidents ng local student councils at mga students,” she said in an interview.

Earlier this month, UST Rector Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P. called on the Thomasian community to join movements against the re-imposition of death penalty.

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

House Bill 4727 or the death penalty bill was passed on the third and final reading in the House of Representatives last March 7. A total of 217 congressmen voted in favor, 54 opposed and one abstained.

The “Lakbay Buhay Laban sa Death Penalty” will culminate in a rally at the Senate in Pasay City on May 24, Wednesday.

Photos by Ma. Alyssa Adrienne T. Samonte

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