SAN CARLOS CITY, Pangasinan: Thousands of Catholic church parishioners, students and officials in Pangasinan joined Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Lingayen-Dagupan Archdiocess Bishop Socrates Villegas on Monday afternoon in a prayer rally against the passage of the death penalty bill and the drug-related killings.
The rally, organized by Catholic leaders, was also joined by seminarians, nuns and former and incumbent politicians from the different towns of the province at about 3:45 p.m.
The protesters walked along the streets of this city holding placards and streamers bearing their grievances against the passage of the death penalty.
In a homily before the start of the rally, Villegas said the government, particularly members of both Congress, are pro-death and pro-poor, which is in violation of the gospel of the lord and the No.5 of the 10 commandments – “Huwag kang papatay” [Thou shall not kill].
He urged Catholic lawmakers to withhold support from any attempt to restore the penalty, as well as the Catholic jurists to study the issue and to oppose through proper proceedings, the reintroduction of the capital punishment.
According to Villegas, the government pushes for the reimposition of the death punishment to justify the rampant extra-judicial killings in the country allegedly perpetrated by law enforcers.
He urged the participants to join them in other big ralliesto be staged in the provinces of Visayas, Mindanao and other parts of Luzon to convince the politicians not to pursue their plans to again impose the death penalty.
“Look at our surroundings now. There are a lot of killings even without the death penalty and if it will be reimposed, I am sure it will double the number of those killed whose victims are mostly indigents,” the bishop said.
Former Pangasinan Vice Gov. Oscar Lambino, who also joined the protest march, saying the reimposition of the death penalty is not necessary to address the rampant criminality in the country especially the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.