Radio Veritas the leading faith-based AM station in the Philippines, launched an online petition against death penalty on February 1, 2017.
This is the station’s response to the proposed revival of the capital punishment to supposedly deter crime in the country. Last year, the House justice committee approved the bill by a 12-6 vote, sending the measure to the plenary for second and third reading.
Radio Veritas President Rev. Fr. Anton C.T. Pascual said that life and dignity of a person must be respected.
“Life must be respected. Only God has the full authority to take one’s life,” Fr. Pascual said.
The station aims to get one million signatures to express the public’s opposition against the restoration of death penalty. Supporters can access the petition at www.veritas846.ph/chooselife/.
The Catholic Church has long opposed the reinstatement of death penalty, arguing that God doesn’t support capital punishment and the dignity of life and human rights of the people must be respected.
For instance, Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, D.D. released a prayer against the death penalty, which is meant to be said in Masses throughout the Christmas season last year. Also, the President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, D.D. recently released a statement at the end of the 114th Plenary Assembly of CBCP saying that everyone has the right to live and should be given the chance to change. He also urged the government to champion life for all.
It was in 2006 when the death penalty was abolished in the Philippines. However, the Duterte administration has sought to reinstate the punishment to deter the rising crime and drug use in the country. The House of Representatives aimed to pass the bill on the third and final reading before Christmas last year, but deferred this to early this year to pave the way for a full debate.
The proposed “Death Penalty Law” covers 21 “heinous” offenses such as treason, qualified piracy, qualified bribery, parricide, murder, infanticide, rape, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, robbery with violence, destructive arson, plunder, and dangerous drug importation. Executions may be carried out by hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.
Radio Veritas 846 is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Established in 1969, the Ramon Magsaysay recipient Catholic radio station continues to be a leading social communications ministry for truth and new evangelization in the country today.