Palace not giving up on death penalty despite Pope’s declaration

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 03 2018 04:51 PM

Members of civil society group iDefend hold a protest outside the House of Representative in Quezon City on February 01, 2017, urging lawmakers to vote against the restoration of the death penalty. ABS-CBN News/File


MANILA - Malacañang said Friday it is not giving up on pushing for the reinstatement of death penalty despite Pope Francis’ declaration that it is “inadmissible" in the Catholic Church’s teachings.

The House of Representatives in March last year approved a bill restoring the death penalty on third and final reading, but its counterpart measure in the Senate remains pending as some senators are not keen on calls to bring back such form of capital punishment.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Palace will “try gentle persuasion” on the senators so they would pass the bill. President Rodrigo Duterte has been hoping to reinstate the death penalty as he wages his war on drugs and pursues an anti-crime campaign.

Leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines, where 80 percent are of the faith, have been strongly opposed to government's move. 

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines on Friday said the Pope’s declaration clears any vagueness on the Church's position on death penalty.

Pope Francis approved the change to the catechism, which covers a wide range of moral and social issues, during a meeting in May with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church's doctrinal watchdog.

"The Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that 'the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person'," the new text states.

The update also says that the Church will "work with determination" for the abolition of the death penalty worldwide.

"Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good," says the new text.

"Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes."