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Appeal to Senators-CBCP

Manila,Philippines– AN APPEAL TO OUR SENATORS Dear Senator ______,

The House of Representatives has recently, with undue haste and under intense pressure, approved the bill re-instating the death penalty for drug offenders.

There are suggestions that more offenses will be later included among crimes punishable by death.

We deeply regret this development, and we ask you to consider rejecting the re-instatement of capital punishment in our country.

Let us note, first of all, that the imposition of the death penalty was removed under the administration of Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Hence “No Death Penalty “is in possession. If it is to be restored, we must answer dispassionately the following questions:

Is it necessary to restore the death penalty? Will it be helpful to restore the death penalty? Is the re-imposition of the death penalty a move towards greater justice?

To these questions, we present our considered position.

The restoration of the death penalty is not necessary. For – as has been repeatedly said – no study has shown that the imposition of the death is an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes.

Besides, police records have shown that crime incidents have been dropping (if we exclude the killings related to the anti-drug war of the government).

The imposition of the death penalty will not be helpful. It may even jeopardize trade privileges we now enjoy with the European Union, for example.

Besides, the re-imposition of the death penalty here will weaken any appeal for clemency we make for our countrymen and women who have been sentenced to death in other countries.

The re-imposition of the death penalty will not be a move towards greater justice. As per Supreme Court records, judicial error in death penalty case is more than 70%. Sadly, there is a risk that the Supreme Court will not be able to rectify all such errors.

Thus, injustice risks being perpetrated. Besides, the trend in dealing with crimes now is towards restorative and not vindictive justice. Restorative justice seeks healing for the victims and their families and reform of offenders.

This certainly is what the Lord wills who wants not the death but the conversion of sinners.

Thirdly, we know that it is mainly the poor, who cannot afford expensive legal aid, who are sentenced to death.

For all these reasons among others, we ask you, dear senators, to reject the re-imposition of the death penalty. We make this appeal to your conscience in the name of Jesus, the Lord of Mercy, and with the help of Mary, our Mother of Mercy.