Bishop urges more efforts to influence pro-death penalty Filipinos

June 28, 2022 - 12:18 PM
Bishop Joel Baylon of Legazpi, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care (ECPPC). (Paul Novilla/Diocese of Legazpi via CBCP News)

A Catholic bishop on Friday challenged anti-death penalty advocates to “exert more efforts” in influencing public attitude towards the value of human life.

Bishop Joel Baylon, head of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, said they need to work hard to change the views of pro-death penalty Filipinos.

He lamented that many people still look at death penalty as “just way” of meting out judgment to those who committed crimes.

“The old ‘lex talionis’ is still very much present in the mind and in the mindset of many of our people,” Baylon said.

“We need to exert more efforts to let our people understand, through different ways, and help them see the dignity of the human person,” he stressed.

The Legazpi prelate made the statement during this year’s online general assembly of the Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP).

The assembly also marked the 16th anniversary of a law that prohibited death penalty in the Philippines.

A 2018 survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) found that nearly six in every 10 Filipinos agree that the death penalty should be reinstated for heinous crimes.

The poll showed that of the 2,000 respondents nationwide, 59 percent want capital punishment for people proven in court to have committed heinous crimes, while 23 percent disagreed.

The bishop also encouraged advocates to continue working with the government “in making sure that laws and structures are provided in the defense of human life”.