LEGAZPI CITY --- Bishop Joel “Bong” Z. Baylon of the Diocese of Legazpi expressed his strong opposition to President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan to revive the death penalty for convicted criminals of heinous crimes specifically those involved in illegal drug activities.
Baylon, a soft-spoken prelate of Legazpi and concurrent chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), stood firm on his opposition to the restoration of death penalty.
“The Church has always maintained that capital punishment, in whatever form it comes, is never a deterrent to crime. Studies have proven this time and again,” Baylon said.
Baylon was reacting to Duterte’s pronouncement during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, where the President called on Congress to pass a law restoring the death penalty by lethal injection.
The prelate lamented that for the third time, the President used his SONA to make another push for the death penalty’s revival for drug-related crimes.
Instead of reviving capital punishment, the prelate stressed the implementation of “restorative justice” as the more dignified choice.
“With the death penalty, justice is nothing but punishment, and never a way to reform the offender. But true justice is restorative, never punitive,” Baylon said.
Duterte in his SONA said the restoration of death penalty will not only help deter criminality but also save children from the dangers posed by the illegal drugs menace.
He also renewed threat to kill drug dealers including drug syndicates operating in the country despite his bloody war on drugs that’s claimed thousands of lives since he assumed the presidency in 2016.