Death penalty is biased against the poor - priest

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 12 2016 12:35 AM

MANILA - A Jesuit priest leading a coalition of organizations warned that the capital punishment is "biased against the poor."

This, after president-elect Rodrigo Duterte's continuous pronouncement that he will revive the death penalty to curb the rising criminality in the country. 

Rev. Fr. Silvino Borres, president of the Coalition Against Death Penalty, said that it would be too risky to allow capital punishment given the "imperfections" in the country's criminal justice system. 

“Death row was rife with stories about how people were not given adequate and competent legal counsel during their trial,” said Borres in a report from CBCP News.

While Borres praised the incoming president's advocacy against illegal drugs and crimes, he insisted that several studies indicate that the death penalty does not deter crime. 

“[Death penalty] eliminates clemency, forgiveness, and rehabilitation by the justice system. Contrary to popular opinion, the pursuit of justice is not incompatible with mercy and compassion,” Borres added. 

Moves to revive the capital punishment in the Philippines has always been blocked by the Catholic Church, which Duterte called the "most hypocritical institution," as it goes against its established teachings. 

Duterte has secured a 200-strong "super majority" in the House of Representatives, putting him in strong position to push for his agenda. On Thursday, Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez revealed that Duterte sought the help of Congressional leaders to prioritize the reinstatement of the death penalty law.