REP. JOSELITO ATIENZA (Buhay Party-List) yesterday rallied the Catholic faithful to oppose a bill that seeks to restore the death penalty.
The bill will be debated in the House of Representatives next week.
Speaking at the Life Summit at Cebu City Hall, Atienza said the public cannot allow the country to be under a culture of death.
“I will not be shocked that if they succeed in passing this death penalty, the next measure that they will introduce is abortion. These are measures that are promoting a culture of death,” Atienza said.
Atienza said the country is fortunate to have the Catholic faith.
“We are believing the word of God. But while we follow the word of God, how do we react to all these things (killings) happening?” Atienza said.
Referring to President Rodrigo Duterte, Atienza said the country has a leader who is popular but who does the wrong things.
“He sees the problem but he goes in the wrong direction. Wala na siyang sinabi kundi patayin ito, patayin yan, patayin kita, may mura pa (He says nothing but kill this and kill that). Is this the leader who will bring us to our desired way of life as Filipinos?” Atienza said.
“Duterte is only up to 2022. After that, he’s gone. But the problem he is now creating will stay on with us. Of course, he will not be able to destroy the Catholic Church no matter what he does. But the culture of death will stay on and will affect our grandchildren,” Atienza said.
The Archdiocese of Cebu’s legal consultant said that if the death penalty is restored, it will impair the right to life as guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution.
Speaking also during the Life Summit, lawyer Makilito Mahinay said death penalty is contrary to a United Nations resolution that death penalty is not a deterrent to crimes.
Mahinay discussed “what the church really teaches about death penalty.”
“Why do we kill people who kill people in order to show that killing people is wrong?” said Mahinay.
He asked: “Is our present judicial system perfect enough to ensure that only the guilty ones are penalized, and that just and appropriate penalties are the ones imposed?”
Mahinay showed the audience the Supreme Court observation in People vs. Mateo. It said that statistics show that within the 11-year period when death penalty took effect, from 1993 to June 2004, the trial courts had imposed death penalty in approximately 1,493 cases.
Upon automatic review by the SC, only 230 cases were affirmedabout 25.36 percent. The rest were either reversed or modified.
Meanwhile, a professor of the University of Asia and the Pacific said that Amnesty International found that in death penalty, innocent people may be sentenced to death through judicial error.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 22, 2017.
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