CONSISTENT with the Church’s teachings on the sacredness of human life, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has come out with an anti-death penalty book amid moves by the Duterte administration to reimpose capital punishment.
The book, “Affirm an Option for Life, a Source Book on Death Penalty and Justice that Heals,” was formally launched on Tuesday by the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison and Pastoral Care.
Rudy Diamante, executive secretary of the commission, expressed confidence that the book would convince the faithful and the government to support the CBCP’s advocacy against the return of the death penalty.
The book, he said, does not only oppose the death penalty but offers as well alternatives on how to heal the pain and anguish of the victims and their families, and also of those who have committed the crime.
Diamante added that the book also contains the latest pronouncements of Pope Francis on the death penalty.
He said work on the book began in 1996 but since there were moves by the Duterte administration to reimpose capital punishment, the CBCP decided to publish it this year.
“It documents why we should not reimpose the death penalty,” he said.
The President earlier said that he wanted the return of the capital punishment to serve as a deterrent to heinous crimes, particularly the growing menace of illegal drugs which he claimed was a threat to national security.
The death penalty was abolished for the second time in 2006 by then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
It was first scrapped by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, only to be restored in 1993, with lethal injection as the means.
Leo Echegaray, who was convicted of raping his daughter, was the first to be executed. Two others followed Echegaray before Arroyo declared a moratorium on the death penalty at the urging of the international community.
A total of 124 countries out of 194 have abolished the capital punishment because it was unable to deter crimes, the CBCP commission pointed out.
Even Pakistan, one of the three countries in the world, along with Iran and Saudi Arabia, with the most number of executed criminals, abolished its death penalty law in 2014.