Church welcomes Lacson-Sotto’s withdrawal of support for death penalty

Church welcomes Lacson-Sotto’s withdrawal of support for death penalty

Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care. SCREENSHOT/LEGAZPI CATHEDRAL

By CBCP News

November 5, 2021

Manila, Philippines

The Catholic Church has welcomed Senate Presiident Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Senator Panfilo Lacson’s retraction of support for death penalty.

The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Philippine bishops’ conference, in a statement, said that the lawmakers’ recent change of heart will help the Church’s pro-life advocacy.

“Coming from two prominent and veteran legislators, this will boost the Church’s advocacy against any moves to reintroduce capital punishment in our statute books,” its chairman, Bishop Joel Baylon, said.

Lacson and Sotto – who are running for the top posts in the 2022 elections, earlier said that they are now against death penalty after years of seeking its reimposition as legislators.

The bishop of Legazpi reiterated that capital punishment “is not and will never be a solution to crime”.

“It is punitive and disregards the dignity, which is inherent in every human person,” Baylon said.

“We maintain that it is not the severity of punishment, but the certainty that a person, who commits a crime, will be held accountable for his acts and omissions, is what will deter crime,” he said.

Instead, the prelate added that the penal system needed by the country is one that allows individuals to be reformed.

“A reform-based corrections program and sanctions, which promote rehabilitation and accept that every human being has the capacity to reform no matter how heinous his or her crime, is, to our mind, what true justice should be,” he said.

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