by Hanna C. Lacsamana
The Diocese of Baguio considers the passage of the Death Penalty Bill at the Lower House as one of the saddest moments in the history of the country, as it supports the collective stand of the Roman Catholic Church that protects and respects the sanctity of life.
Baguio Bishop Victor B. Bendico told the Courier Friday that the church will continue to oppose the capital punishment as a means of penalizing criminals.
“God is the author of life. He is not the author of death; it is not in His vocabulary. To take away the life of a person by people other than God, is an insult to the humanity of the person, to life itself, and to the author of life,” Bendico said.
With death penalty, the Bishop said there is always the possibility that innocent people will be executed. “And once executed, there could be no way of compensating death. Life is already taken out. We don’t have the power to bring back a person’s life, do we then have the power to take one’s life? We are not simply the author of life and death.”
Instead of focusing on punishing criminals by death, Bendico said the country should look into its “flawed” criminal justice system, and most importantly remind people, especially the youth, about the dangers of drugs and drug addiction.
“We have to encourage them to look at life positively. Our students should study and finish, have jobs. With a job, criminality hopefully would be lessened,” he said, explaining crimes are rampant because of poverty and people who do not think of their future would eventually look for an escape and commit crimes.
Last March 7, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines said the bishops are “overcome with grief but we are not defeated nor shall be silenced.”
In a statement, Archbishop of Lingayen Dagupan Socrates B. Villegas, CBCP president, called on all Catholic faithful and Filipinos who stand for life to continue the spirited opposition to death penalty.
“They may have won but it does not mean that they are right,” the CBCP said.