Manila (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Church in the Philippines is opposed to reinstating the death penalty in the legal system of the country. This was stated in an interview with Agenzia Fides by Catholic lay leader Rodolfo Diamante, a member of the Episcopal Commission for prison pastoral care, noting that "legislators should not approve laws just to please president Rodrigo Duterte". The debate on the possible reintroduction of the death penalty returned in vogue after President Duterte won the recent mid-term elections: the allied candidates with incumbent president obtained 9 of the 12 seats (another three seats went to independent candidates). "The senators are elected by the people and must work for the well-being of the entire nation, not for the president. We urge them to study the situation carefully in order to face the challenges that our country is experiencing", says Diamante.
The president of the Philippine Senate, Vicente Sotto III, said that the reintroduction of the death penalty for some serious crimes is a real possibility", given that "several allied men of Duterte are preparing to enter the Senate". With the arrival of nine Senators in favor of Duterte, now the assembly, composed entirely of 24 senators, is firmly under Duterte’s control.
One of the president's most controversial proposals is to reintroduce the death penalty. The Philippines declared the death penalty illegal in 1987, reintroduced it six years later and then abolished it again in 2006. Two new members elected by the Senate have already publicly expressed support for the death penalty. One of these is the parliamentarian, Ramon Revilla, the other is the new senator Ronald de la Rosa, a former police officer, who said he was in favor of reintroducing the death penalty for drug-related crimes.
According to Diamante "the death penalty has never been and will never be a solution or a deterrent to crime. Furthermore, it is a measure against life, against the poor, who do not have adequate means to defend themselves in court, and will do nothing but to sharpen the culture of violence that now prevails in our country". "The Filipino population deserves something better", concludes Diamante. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/5/2019)