Statement on World Day Against Death Penalty

Statement on World Day Against Death Penalty

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (CBCP-ECPPC) joins in the worldwide celebration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty and reiterates its strong opposition to capital punishment and calls for its abolition worldwide for the following reasons:

1. The death penalty violates the inherent dignity of the human person;
2. It has never been proven to deter crime;
3. It is irreversible, as there is no possibility of rectifying a wrong judgment by an imperfect justice system, such as the one that we have.
4. It is anti-poor; experience shows that most of those meted with the death penalty are the poor, the indigent, the uneducated who have no access to quality legal representation.
5. It is nothing but vengeance on the wrongdoer; it does not give the person a chance to change. True justice must be restorative, and never punitive.

In its stead we call for:

1. The elimination of the prevailing culture of violence and death and the “throw-away” attitude prevailing in our society.
2. The passage of laws to reform our criminal justice system to make it more efficient and restorative in nature, also effective implementation of existing laws to afford our convicted PDLs a chance o be truly reformed and ready to be reintegrated to the mainstream of society;
3. That government shall seriously work at eliminating graft and corruption in all institutions serving all the pillars of the criminal justice system.
4. The upholding of the basic human rights of our PDLs and affording them the proper humane treatment in accordance with international laws and standards.
5. The State to focus special attention on formulating concrete solutions to combat the effects the COVID-19 pandemic and to alleviate the plight of our sisters and brothers in prison, who are most adversely affected by this pandemic.

We join the worldwide clamor for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide. Let us instead work together towards the kind of justice that heals and restores the dignity of every human person.

+JOEL Z. BAYLON, D.D.
Bishop of Legazpi
Chairman

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