As disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ, who rules with righteousness and justice (Hebrews 1:8-9), PCEC is committed to uphold penal or correctional measures that conform to Biblical teachings and principles.
PCEC upholds firmly its previous Statement on death penalty. We maintain that the death penalty and the sanctity of human life are not contradictory. Scripture asserts unswervingly that all life is sacred because life comes from God (John 1:3-4). God is the Creator and Author of life. All human beings are exemplary above all creatures for humans uniquely embody God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27). Because life is sacred, to willfully extinguish the life of another person entails forfeiting one’s own (Genesis 9:6). Ultimately, only God has the prerogative to take away the life of a human being, but God has appointed the civil government as an “agent of wrath” (Romans 13:3- 4; 1 Peter 2:13-14) that may exercise capital punishment for the good of the community. We have thus denounced all extrajudicial killings in light of these principles.
The authority conferred upon the government to use capital punishment, nonetheless, is not without qualifications. Scripture demands the absolute integrity of the judicial and law enforcement processes and systems (Deuteronomy 19:15-19; Exodus 20:13). Moreover, Scripture attests that even in capital crimes, justice does not always necessitate the application of the death penalty. Forgiveness and mercy are not incompatible with justice as in the case of King David (2 Samuel 12) and the adulteress in Jesus’ time (John 8).
PCEC certainly lauds President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s resolve to fight and eradicate illegal drugs and other forms of criminality that have long plagued our nation. However, the recent arrests of police officers and even killings of political figures involved in criminal activities expose the glaring fallibility and weaknesses of our country’s criminal justice system. If such an imperfect system would be armed with the power to impose death on alleged and actual offenders, it would likely bring about terrible miscarriages of justice in which the poor would often be the victims. The present state of the justice system then makes it difficult to guarantee that the government’s duty to wield the sword would be upheld with full integrity. Thus, PCEC cannot support the present call to reimpose capital punishment in our country.
Instead, we appeal to President Duterte to prioritize the improvement and efficiency of our country’s criminal justice system. We also call on the President to consider adhering to the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines had previously agreed to sign and uphold.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly[a] with your God.”
For more information, please contact Bishop Noel Pantoja at 913-1658,