Bishops ‘grieve’ House approval of kill bill

Bishops ‘grieve’ House approval of kill bill

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President

MANILA– The Catholic bishops are ‘grieving’ over the approval by an overwhelming vote at the House of Representatives of a measure to revive the capital punishment.

Lawmakers voted 217-54 to resurrect the death penalty bill, which seeks to reimpose capital punishment for heinous drug-related crimes.

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines president, lamented that the lower House “has given its consent for the State to kill”.

“We, your bishops, are overcome with grief but we are not defeated nor shall we be silenced,” Villegas said.

“In the midst of Lent we prepare to celebrate the triumph of life over death, and while we grieve that the lower House has voted for death, our faith assures us that life will triumph,” he said.

At the same time, the archbishop called on the Filipinos who stand for life to continue the “spirited opposition” to the death penalty.

He made a particular call on the Catholic lawyers, judges and jurists “to allow the gentleness of the Gospel of Life to illumine their reading and application of the law”.

In doing so, he added, their service to society as teachers and agents of the law and of justice will bring life.

“It is indeed that we may have life to the full that the Lord came into our midst. They may have won but it does not mean that they are right,” said Villegas.

Mr. Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the CBCP Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, lamented how the lawmakers “served their personal interests” instead of the common good.

“They are even willing to sacrifice their consciences and principles in pursuit of their interests,” he said.

“The problem indeed in our country is the lack of true servant leaders who will sacrifice their interests for the greater good,” said Diamante.

A similar measure is pending before the Senate.  CBCPNews