The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the Gospel of Life. It is this Gospel we must preach. It is this Gospel that we must uphold. We therefore unequivocally oppose proposals and moves to return the death penalty into the Philippine legal system.
We took a considerable stride in the defense of life when we repealed the Heinous Crimes Act that provided for the death penalty in what were considered "heinous crimes". We regret that there are strident efforts to restore the death penalty.
Though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever giving up on any person. When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process.
Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty. We urge the government to champion life for all!
For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines
+SOCRATES B. VILLEGAS Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan President, CBCP January 30, 2017