MANILA - Filipinos need jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic instead of death penalty measures, a Manila bishop said Wednesday after President Rodrigo Duterte urged lawmakers to pass a bill reinstating capital punishment.
The Catholic Church will continue to oppose death penalty which is anti-poor, according to Broderick Pabillo, apostolic administrator and auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Manila.
"Ang pangangailangan ng tao ngayon ay buhay, trabaho, kalusugan tapos ipapasok na naman ang isang kuwan na hindi naman nakakatugon sa problema ng tao," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
(What people need right now is life, jobs, health and they will propose something that will not address the nation's problems.)
"Hindi rin nakakatugon sa kriminalidad, lalong-lalo na sa problema ng droga. Ilan ang pinatay nila, wala ngang death penalty, basta lang pinatay, nawala ba 'yung droga?" he added, referring to alleged extrajudicial killings under government's drug war.
(It also doesn't address criminality, especially the problem of illegal drugs. How many did they kill without death penalty, was the drug problem resolved?)
Pabillo said government must first address corruption in its police force and review the judiciary system.
"Kahit na may death penalty, kung hindi maayos ang ating kapulisan, ang ating judiciary system, hindi naman matatakot ang mga malalaking tao," he said.
(Even if there's death penalty, if our police and judiciary are not orderly, big-time criminals will not be afraid.)
"Ang bawat tao ay mahalaga, may karapatan at pagkakataon na magbago. Pag pinatay na 'yung tao, pag nagkamali sa judgment sa kanya, at marami ang nagkakamali sa judgment, hindi mo na mababawi ang buhay ng tao."
(Every person's life is important and they have a right and chance to change. If you kill a person and you erred in your judgment, and many do, you can't take back the person's life.)
Pabillo, meantime, said he was doing well after testing positive for the coronavirus.
"Okay naman po ako (I'm okay). Normal as ever. Naka-quarantine lang (I'm just under self-quarantine)," he said.
The Philippines as of Tuesday reported 83,673 cases of COVID-19, with 26,617 recoveries and 1,947 deaths.