Diocese of Bacolod sets rally vs death penalty

THE Diocese of Bacolod will hold a prayer rally on Monday, December 12, to express its opposition to the passage of the bill restoring death penalty by the House committee on justice.

The procession will start 3 p.m., from the Sacred Heart Seminary Shrine at Lizares Avenue going to the Bacolod plaza, where a Liturgy of the Word will be celebrated.

Bishop Patricio Buzon will also deliver a message.

Teachers and students from Catholic schools and the faithful from various parishes are expected to join the procession.

Earlier, Fr. Felix Pasquin, rector of San Sebastian Cathedral, said that lawmakers should adhere to God’s eternal laws.

“If lawmakers will not adhere to God's law then chaos and disorder will result,” he said.

He opined that lawmakers should instead pass laws strengthening the criminal justice system.

VP opposing, too

Vice President Leni Robredo has expressed alarm at the quick passage in the House committee level of the bill restoring death penalty in the country.

"Tila minadali ng komite ang pag-apruba sa panukalang batas na ito para lamang mapagbigyan ang kagustuhan ng Pangulo," she said.

Robredo questioned how the proposed bill was passed without any evidences or studies that would say that death penalty would be effective in suppressing crime.

"Hindi rin nasagot nang maayos ang katanungan ng mga Kongresistang laban dito," she said.

Robredo said the members of the Committee on Justice may have forgotten that the country is a signatory of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits the country to restore the death penalty.

She remained hopeful that the House plenary will seriously review the bill and eventually vote against it.

"Naniniwala kami na mananaig pa rin ang diwa ng demokratikong lehislatura," said Robredo.

‘Deadly combination’

Meanwhile, two senators from the Liberal Party, to which Robredo is also a member, have expressed opposition to the same bill.

Senator Risa Hontiveros said she is alarmed of the simultaneous efforts to reinstate the death penalty and lower the age of criminal liability, which will result in minors landing on death row.

The death penalty and lowering the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9, according to Hontiveros, would be a "deadly combination that will condemn Filipino children to a dark and sinister future in which they will become death row kids."

Hontiveros said the consolidated death penalty bill contradicts the government’s supposed rehabilitation and reformation programs for convicted drug users and criminals.

“The broad scope of crimes punishable by death, including the mere possession of illegal drugs, is extremely bothering. What is therefore the point of building a mega-drug rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija if the government wants all the drug addicts killed anyway,” the senator asked.

For his part, Senator Francis Pangilinan said that reimposing the death penalty will not lead to more convictions, nor will it ensure that cases will be decided swiftly and the guilty punished.

"Death penalty will not address lawlessness and criminality when convictions are few and cases drag on for years," Pangilinan said. (With reports from Sunnex)

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