Protest movement vs death penalty travels from Mindanao up to Senate
THEY came all the way from Mindanao, starting in Cagayan de Oro, and are now in the Visayas, and they intend to travel all the way to Luzon, particularly at the Senate building.
More than a hundred members from various civil society organizations will hold rallies against the death penalty in every place they pass, until they reach the Senate and make their voice heard.
They marched from Fuente Osmeña to the Cebu Provincial Capitol to protest the death penalty and extrajudicial killings.
Fr. Robert Reyes, the running priest, led the multi-sectoral march called “Lakbay Buhay Laban sa Death Penalty”.
“The Senate will soon begin its debates on death penalty. They are crucial in finally approving the bill which has been approved by the lower house,” Fr. Reyes told the reporters.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 4727 with 216 in favor, 54 against and one abstention last March which sought the revival of capital punishment for heinous drug-related offenses.
Cebu City South District Representative Rodrigo Abellanosa was the lone abstention while Cebu City North District Representative Raul del Mar stood on his principle opposing death penalty.
Other Cebu Representatives voted in favor including Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas (1st district), Wilfredo Caminero (2nd district), Gwendolyn Garcia (3rd district), Benhur Salimbangon (4th district), Ramon Durano VI (5th district), Jonas Cortes (6th district), Peter John Calderon (7th district) and Aileen Radaza of Lapu-Lapu City.
“I disagree with this government that focuses on drugs as the number one problem. The number one problem is poverty. This government does not talk about poverty but it always talks about drugs. Drugs did not cause poverty but poverty caused drugs,” said Fr. Reyes.
“You will hesitate to take shabu because you are educated. You do not want to throw away years of effort. Those who have no education and very little to look forward to, they don’t value life and it is easy for them to gamble their lives with drugs,” Fr. Reyes added.
He also wants government to focus on poverty aside from the drug problem.
Fr. Reyes said he does not call on President Rodrigo Duterte to step down from power but instead to broaden his understanding of the problem.
Lakbay Buhay Laban sa Death Penalty also hopes to convince the senators to favor life.
The movement started last Thursday in Cagayan De Oro.
After Cebu, they will hold the same multi-sectoral march in Ormoc City and expect to arrive at the Senate building on May 24, the feast day of Our Lady, Help of Christians.
Fr. Reyes said that it is their duty to let the moral voice of the church be heard regardless of criticisms.
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