Palawan church leaders: Solons' death penalty vote not public opinion

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2017 09:47 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2017 10:51 AM

PUERTO PRINCESA – While 3 lawmakers representing Palawan voted "yes" to the return of death penalty for drug-related offenses, Catholic Church leaders said Palaweños do not want the measure to be implemented.

The Catholic Church maintained that killing can never be the answer to a mistake. However, Palawan 1st District Rep. Franz Alvarez, 2nd District Rep. Frederick Abueg, and 3rd District Rep. Gil Acosta all voted in favor of bringing back capital punishment.

In interviews with ABS-CBN News, Abueg and Acosta claimed that Palawan residents voiced a preference for death penalty.

"Panahon na po talaga na magkaroon tayo ng death penalty bill dahil nagiging malawak na, nagiging malagim na, nagiging talagang sobrang sama na iyung mga nagagawa na crimes ng ating mga kababayan," Abueg said.

Acosta added, "At ang mga sumusuporta sa death penalty, [gusto] na talagang maibalik [ito] para sa kabuuang pagmamantini ng peace and order ng ating bansa."

According to the Church, it is not justifiable.

"To what extent ba na nasabi nila ito na yung saloobin natin bilang mga Palaweño? Nagkaroon nga ba ng mga inquiries? Nagtanong-tanong nga ba? At talaga bang masasabi natin na kung ano yung kanilang sinasabi ay yun rin po yung sinasabi natin?" said Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa, Social Action Director Rev. Fr. Jasper Lahan.

Prior to the lawmakers’ decision, the Church conducted a signature campaign against death penalty. They also sent a statement to be read in all churches, said the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa.

Lahan added, "Lagi ko pong inuulit na hindi tayo nagdedesisyon galing sa mga frustration natin sa buhay o galing sa iba't ibang mga talagang gumagawa na maging kumplikado ang ating buhay kundi tayo ay bumabalik sa tamang prinsipyo ng buhay.” 

“Kaya ngayon ang sinasabi natin na napakasimple: sila ang nagre-represent sa atin kaya sana naman pakinggan din nila tayo kapag ang pinag-uusapan ay ang mga bagay na nakakaapekto na sa buhay ng tao."

Palawan church leaders plan to hold a dialogue with the congressmen. - report from Lynette Dela Cruz, ABS-CBN News