Limlingan: Life or death

DP Limlingan

BISHOP Ruperto Santos of the Diocese of Balanga City has described last week the approval in the House of Representatives of the death penalty as a “sad and sorrowful event in the country.” For him, our legislators “took the matters in their hands and blood will be in their hands”.

It can be recalled that legislators from the lower house has recently approved on third and final reading the revival of the death penalty. This means that the revival of the capital punishment is inching its way to implementation.

The reason of our lawmakers for the revival is simple: to make the penalty a deterrent to criminals in doing heinous crimes against the citizenry.

The law is somehow anchored on the law of retaliation. An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth. This means that those who committed serious offenses in the country should also be meted with a serious penalty that is the curtailment of the right to live.

For Bishop Santos, not everything legal is moral and that the penalty of death is sinful as it is tantamount to taking away the sanctity of life. He adds that we are losing now our moral ascendency in asking for clemencies for Filipinos who are in death rows abroad since our country is on the brink of having the capital punishment revived.

It’s been several years now since Leo Echegaray became the first and the last man to be imposed with the death penalty after its revival then and until the law was abolished. The country is again on its re-imposition with the approval of the bill in the lower house.

Perhaps there would be no legislation on the revival of the capital punishment if only there is no serious crime committed by criminals. There would be no death imposed if only there are no murders, kidnappings, rapes and other crimes qualified to be heinous.

Lawmakers who are for the re-imposition of the death penalty are vocal on their reasons of setting the example for would-be criminals who are to commit serious crimes. They have the statistics perhaps on how many crimes are committed each day and how daring criminals are in perpetrating serious offenses that prompted them into legislating for the re-imposition of the capital punishment of death.

The question now lies whether the said re-imposition is really a deterrent to crimes and criminals or otherwise.

Evidently for these lawmakers, they believe that the revival of the capital punishment is a better solution to deter criminal activities. This is precisely the reason why they passed the bill that emanated from the lower house.

On the other hand, the Catholic Church, other religious organizations and other cause-oriented groups are strongly opposing for the re-imposition of the death penalty as they believe that it is not really a deterrent to its supposed targets. For them, it is not a solution to the country’s pressing problem on criminality.

They believe to the sanctity and sacredness of life as a gift from God, that it should be spared even if it’s the life of a criminal who committed a heinous crime we are talking about.

The anti-death penalty groups also believe that no one has the right to take one’s life except only the Divine Creator who is also the giver of it.

Let’s wait and see what happens next between life or death.