Religious superiors urge Congress to junk death penalty bill

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THE ASSOCIATION of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) has condemned the plan to revive death penalty in the country, saying it “is not the desired end for a humane and Christian approach to punishment.”

“We reiterate and uphold this stand against capital punishment, as well as the reasons for it, among them, that the practice brings no justice to victims, but instead fosters vengeance,” the AMRSP said in a statement last Dec. 23.

“The [1987] Constitution has abolished the death penalty and this is very significant for it was a great step in recognizing the dignity of every human being and in valuing human life from its conception to its natural end,” said the AMRSP, citing a 1992 pastoral letter on the death penalty issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

The AMRSP also echoed Pope Francis’ call for a world “free of the death penalty” in the sixth World Congress against the Death Penalty last June.

“Indeed, nowadays the death penalty is unacceptable, however grave the crime of the convicted person,” the Pope said in his message to the congress in Norway.

“It is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity of the human person; it likewise contradicts God’s plan for individuals and society, and his merciful justice,” he said.

Last Dec. 7, the House justice committee approved House Bill No. 1 or the death penalty bill with a 12-6 vote, sending the measure to the plenary for debates.

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