Groups march against restoration of death penalty

A MULTI-SECTORAL group held a march-rally from Colon St. to Provincial Capitol in Cebu City to dramatize their opposition against the restoration of death penalty.

The rallyists, headed by Fr. Robert Reyes, president of the Coalition Against Death Penalty, and Dr. Rene Joseph Bullecer, said it’s time for the Catholic Church and all churches to make a stand against the “culture of death.”

The restoration of the death penalty was already passed by the House of Representatives, and voted by all congressmen in Cebu. Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City North), though, opposed it, while Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa (Cebu City South) abstained.

Reyes said the death penalty was abolished by President Corazon Aquino, restored by President Fidel Ramos before stepping down from Malacañang and implemented by convicted plunderer President Joseph Estrada.

In 2006, President Arroyo abolished the death penalty because the Philippines was a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Civil and Political Rights.

Youth leader Ninian Sumadia said a Supreme Court study showed that 71 percent of all those meted death penalty during Estrada’s time was either later found to be innocent or their cases needed to be reviewed.

Reyes said that as president of the coalition, he was present for all seven executions during Estrada’s time.

“In our study, we have evidence that at least one of the seven persons executed was found to be innocent,” he said.

“We have senators and congressmen, who are not pro-life at all. They promote death. And the Catholic Church should come out from its hibernation and come out strongly that the gospel that we preach is the gospel of life. And we cannot tolerate anyone who promotes the gospel of death,” he said.

Reyes said Sen. Manny Pacquiao has no moral ascendancy to speak about the issue, as it is expected because he is a boxer and he wants to kill his opponent.

“A Filipino should begin to realize that boxing and sports that are violent are immoral,” he said.
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