CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 25 May 2019

Print Version    Email to Friend
Death penalty just a vote puller

MANILA (SE): The Prison Ministry of The Philippines called on the president, Rodrigo Duterte, and the congress not to give the people false hope by pretending the death penalty will do anything to lessen the crime rate in the nation.

Rodolfo Diamante, from the Prison Ministry, called the death penalty an affront to human dignity and a slick political move to give the impression that the government is doing something about crime.

He is adamant that it is in no way a quick fix and in all events, quick fixes do not work.

“We appeal to the president and our lawmakers not to resort to a quick fix solution to the problem of criminality and stop giving us the false hope that we will be safe and secure by putting people to death,” CBCP News quoted the prison chaplain as saying.

Diamante described it as an easy way out of doing something constructive and one that is just pulling the wool over people’s eyes, because crime is a complex reality that requires a far more complex solution than a simplistic play on emotion.

“It is no more the answer to violent crime than abortion is to unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Death is never the answer,” he said at a ceremony marking World Day Against the Death Penalty in the bishops’ conference chapel in Intramuros, Manila, on October 10.

However, the bishops of Texas in the United States of America took their appeal for an end to the death penalty during Respect for Life Month further, saying that they believe it does positive harm in society.

Father Jim Consedine, a former national chaplain to prisons in New Zealand and prime mover in the creation of the restorative justice programme, which is designed to keep young offenders out of prison and is based on a reconciliation model instead of a punitive one, described the prison system as primarily designed as a deterrent for the middle class. “And it works,” he said, “as you seldom see any of them in there.”

The bishops of Texas pointed out that those who get sent to death row include a disproportionate number of the poor, minority groups and the vulnerable, marginalised groups of society.

“The death penalty also perpetuates the notion that life is in some instances disposable, or can be judged as no worth,” they said.

In addition, they add that it also negatively influences children’s moral formation and damages the culture of a nation, as it denies the possibility of mercy or redemption.

“Scarce public resources are devoted to the death penalty,” they concluded. “Innocent people are also killed by the government on behalf of the people.”

But Diamante insisted that it also has nothing to do with fighting crime, but is rather a political tool for cheap politicking, playing on the naivety of the population by proclaiming the lie that it really is a deterrent, despite the fact that it has been proven time and time again to be otherwise.

He said, “Astute politicians will carry the cause of death for the convicted, not because they believe in it as being an appropriate national policy, but because it is a popular cause.”

The push for the reintroduction of the death penalty by the president of The Philippines is nothing but an extension of his war on the poor, as it has nothing to do with fighting drugs, as he claims, as evidenced by previous experience in The Philippines and currently in Indonesia.

More from this section