NO less than the Almighty is the latest subject of President Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades, with the crime-fighting former city mayor asking why God is nowhere to be found when innocent people fall victims to cold-blooded criminals.
Duterte on Monday defended his proposal to reinstate the death penalty, lamenting that criminals disregard the law because of lack of fear.
“People in the Philippines don’t believe in the law because fear is not there,” he said in a speech before Malacañang journalists.
“And that is why I said give me back the death penalty,” the President added, as he cited criticisms of his proposal from the Catholic hierarchy.
“The bleeding hearts, the priests and all, said there was death penalty before, and nothing happened. Then I can simply say, death penalty didn’t work because it wasn’t imposed. Every president along the way would just say, one because of the Catholic Church; second the bleeding hearts, because only God can kill. The problem there, I ask you, what if there is no God? So we allow the criminals?” Duterte said.
“When a one-year old, 18-month old baby taken from the mother’s arms, brought under a jeep and raped and killed, so where is God?” he added.
The President then brought up the killings of women and children in Syria, where some of them were raped by members of the extremist Islamic State, also known as IS or ISIS.
“In Syria, women, women and children and women who do not have want to sex, sex with the ISIS, they’re murdered. So where is God? My God, where are you?” Duterte said.
“I believe in God but that is my perpetual question to him. Where were you when we needed you? It is not enough to say at the end of the day, at the end of the world, he shall come to judge the living and the dead. What would be the purpose of all of that if the heartaches, sorrows, and agony have already been inflicted upon the human beings in this world? Iyan ang mahirap e [That’s the difficult part],” he added.
The President argued that not everyone believes in God, as there are atheists and agnostics.
“Mind you, at this age now, many are questioning it. For the simple reason we are taught … We’re always taught na ganon ang buhay [life is like that], that everything begins and ends with God. So therefore God, he knew at that time when he created this planet that these things will happen. So my God, why did you do it?” the President said.
Capital punishment was abolished in 1987 during the presidency of Corazon Aquino but was re-imposed in 1993 under President Fidel Ramos.
Crimes that were punishable by death include rape, kidnapping, murder and drug trafficking.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo scrapped the death penalty anew on June 24, 2006 after approving Republic Act 9346. Her successor, President Benigno Aquino 3rd, also opposed capital punishment, believing it would not address criminality.