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Bishop fact-checks Duterte: No proof death penalty deters crime

A Catholic bishop has refuted President Rodrigo Duterte that the death penalty deter criminals.

Bishop Joey Baylon of Legazpi said that the alleged deterrent effect of execution has been repeatedly debunked in various studies.

“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,” said Baylon, who heads the bishops’ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care.

The prelate was reacting to Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on Monday, where the president called for the return of the the death penalty by lethal injection.

For the third time, he again used his SONA to make another push for the death penalty revival for drug-related crimes.

“This law will not only help us deter criminality but also save our children from the dangers posed by illegal and dangerous drugs,” Duterte said.

He also renewed a threat to kill drug dealers, admitting that drug syndicates continue to operate in the country despite his bloody war on drugs that’s claimed thousands of lives.

“Do not do it in my country because I will really kill you. That is a commitment,” he said.

The United Nations said in a recent report that Duterte’s drug war has sparked widespread killings amid “near impunity” for offenders.

The report also called for an independent investigation into human rights abuses in the Philippines.

Instead of reviving capital punishment, Bishop Baylon said “restorative justice” is 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,” he said.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga also warned that reimposing death penalty in the Philippines weakens appeals to save Filipinos on death row abroad.

“With death penalty we lose moral authority and credibility to beg for life, to save lives of our imprisoned overseas Filipino workers (OFWs),” he said. CBCP - Roy Lagarde

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