Respect for life*

IT is truly saddening to note that several government officials are still pushing for the restoration of the death penalty.

The House of Representatives approved in March last year a bill restoring the death penalty on third and final reading for drug-related offenses, believing that it is an acceptable means of safeguarding the common good. However, its counterpart measure remains pending in the Senate as some senators are not that eager to bring back such a barbaric form of punishment.

It is an undeniable fact that almost 80 percent of Filipinos are Catholics. Pope Francis recently declared that the death penalty is “inadmissible” in the teachings of the Catholic Church because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) stated that the Pope’s declaration clears any vagueness on the position of the Church on death penalty. There is allegedly no reason to justify its imposition. It should not be considered in all cases. In fact, the Church intends to work with determination for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

Even the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) is steadfast in opposing its restoration after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque stated that the death penalty law’s passage remains a priority of the government.

What continues to surprise our people is the fact that even Senator Manny Pacquiao, who professes to be a religious person, appears to have no respect for life and is pushing for capital punishment.

Pacquiao believes that capital punishment is acceptable since it is reportedly written in the Bible that government has the authority to enforce the death penalty on those who commit heinous crimes.

But a staunch Pacquiao supporter in the person of Buhay Partylist Representative Lito Atienza thinks that it does not deter crime. He said all countries that played around with the death penalty did not prevent the commission of crimes and instead aggravated the situation.

Bear in mind that hardened criminals are unafraid of death. Firing Line believes that death is an easy way out for these lawbreakers who could suffer even more if meted out life imprisonment.

And never forget that we are a signatory to the United Nations agreement that the death penalty will never be reintroduced in the country and it was, sadly, violated last year in Congress.

*              *              *

SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/


* The opinion of this author is his/hers alone. It is not necessarily the views of Beyond Deadlines.

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Robert Roque Jr.
Robert B. Roque Jr. is a veteran journalist who started out as a correspondent for Manila Bulletin's tabloid TEMPO in 1983. In 1989, At age 27, he rose to become the youngest associate editor of a newspaper of national circulation. In mid-2000, he took the helm of the paper as its editor until his voluntary retirement in 2012. He currently writes a syndicated column for TEMPO, Remate, and Hataw newspapers, and for this site, Beyond Deadlines. A former journalism lecturer at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Santo Tomas from 1992 to 2002, Roque is also an active member of the Lions Clubs International, the largest service club organization in the world, having served as head of the Philippine Lions (council chairperson) in Lion Year 2011-2012.

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