The churches in the Philippines have their fundamental differences in doctrine and practice, and their likewise consequent divergent conclusions and positions towards socio-moral issues. Truth but sad to say, seldom do they bind themselves together to declare and promote one and the same stand in one ethical issue.
But now the different churches in the country have adopted and affirmed the same stand: they have in unison expressed their rejection of the Death Penalty Law. This is their official and united tenet: death penalty must cede to the value and dignity of human life.
There must be something fundamentally wrong with death penalty that make people of different religious persuasions become bonded by the common and strong stand against it. In fact, there are atheists who even without recognizing the existence of God, nevertheless realize the value of the life of others also gifted with the same precious reality as they are. The question then comes to mind: why are there people who apparently believe in God but not in man? Why are there people who allege they are Christians and yet prefer death over life? Why is their belief so contrary to truth?
If it is purely justice that they want—and who does not?—is it only death that can bring that about? Is death the one and only way of justly penalizing persons convicted of heinous crimes? Is their death the only road to justice for their victims? Does their death give something to the victims except a sense of vengeance, a taste of blood, a depreciation of life?
There seems to be a continuing battle between divine and human laws, between reason and emotion, between common sense and inhuman design. And in the matter of penal execution, the reality is simply the following: A heinous law for a heinous crime. Would that the executive and legislative branches of government reconsider and ultimately abolish the Death Penalty Law to spare the judiciary of applying it even to the disgust of many judges and justices.
12 August 1999