Punchline

Death penalty is OK – God

By Ermin Garcia Jr.

 

FOR decades and since I attended classes in Theology at the Ateneo, I have deliberately shunned situations that would draw me in and join debates on religious issues. I’ve learned that any attempt at debating an interpretation of any verse in the Bible can become emotional and bitter, especially if the other side is a self-annointed moralist.

But I must now weigh in  and add my voice to the already acrimonious debate about the death penalty.

However, in doing this, I must state here that I have no desire to convince readers or any sector but that I only wish to submit a verse and a position lifted from the Bible that tells us: God does not oppose the imposition of the death penalty by the government.

First, the premise:  Opposition to the death penalty is mainly framed from the Fifth Commandment – “Thou shall not kill.”  How can one argue that? You can’t.

But know that there is Romans 13:1-7 – Submission to the Authorities

“Submission to the Authorities
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

Based on above, I read a quick ref:

Question: “What does the Bible say about the death penalty / capital punishment?”

Answer: The Old Testament law commanded the death penalty for various acts: murder (Exodus 21:12), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:19), adultery (Leviticus 20:10), homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:5), prostitution and rape (Deuteronomy 22:24), and several other crimes. However, God often showed mercy when the death penalty was due. David committed adultery and murder, yet God did not demand his life be taken (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 14-17; 2 Samuel 12:13). Ultimately, every sin we commit should result in the death penalty because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God demonstrates His love for us in not condemning us (Romans 5:8).

Second, we must recognize that God has given government the authority to determine when capital punishment is due (Genesis 9:6; Romans 13:1-7). It is unbiblical to claim that God opposes the death penalty in all instances. Christians should never rejoice when the death penalty is employed, but at the same time, Christians should not fight against the government’s right to execute the perpetrators of the most evil of crimes.

I rest my case.

*          *          *          *          *

PROTECTING JAI-TENG. I have no doubt that the war on drugs will proceed with more impressive and credible results.  The new guidelines have seen to minimize doubts on the integrity of the report by PDEA-PNP.

But I don’t see the same happening in the war on illegal gambling, the objective of which is to stop corruption of elected local government officials and police officers.

It’s been a month since PDU30 announced the launching of the nationwide campaign but nothing appears to be moving to help PDU30 stop jueteng, the biggest source of corruption in the province.

Three weeks ago, a resolution as filed by BM Noel Bince with the provincial board seeking to inquire into the status and progress of the campaign vs. illegal gambling. But that effort was suddenly stonewalled. The issue was never calendared that would have prompted PNP’s Acting- Provincial Director Ronald Lee to give the board an update.

Apparently, the board members would rather not rock the boat and leave the good life be, courtesy of illegal gambling.  But if that wasn’t bad enough, the provincial police have not received a specific order from the regional (national headquarters) to stop the operations of the off-fronton jai-alai betting stations in all towns and cities that front for jueteng in the province, and to go to at it hammer and tongs.    

Why the resistance you might ask.

The jai-teng (jai-alai-cum-jueteng) operations in the province are so entrenched that all towns and cities have issued the off-fronton operations business permits. Translation: the mayors have locked in their interests in jai-teng.

No one but no one audits the revenues of Meridien Vista Gaming Corp., the holding company of the off-fronton betting stations, yet it doesn’t take one to be a rocket scientist to discern that jai-teng earns millions monthly, enough to make all the ‘boys and girls’ happy.

If local executives continue to defy PDU30 by covering up for jai-teng, it won’t be farfetched to hear him threaten to declare martial law if it is not stopped instantly, because it can.

But knowing how determined PDU30 is to stop corruption, I won’t be surprised if a councilor or a vice mayor or a police chief who shares his advocacy would soon submit to him the list of protectors of jai-teng in Pangasinan.

*          *          *          *          *

BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Here’s a heads- up for the provincial, town and city administrator.

Atty. Premolito Plaza, the Provincial Administrator of Surigao Del Norte, was reprimanded by the Office of the Ombudsman for failing to reply to the letters of a certain Benjie Ruperto Latras, a provincial employee reassigned to the Sta. Monica District Hospital.

Yes, simply for failing to reply in writing to an employee’s concerns.

With the executive Freedom of Information in place, our public officials (elected and appointed or career) now face possible sanctions for failing to act on complaints and concerns from their constituents and media.

Here’s part of that decision: “There is substantial evidence to prove that Plaza failed to respond to complainant’s letters. His contention, without other corroborating evidence, that he verbally advised complainant on the procedure of turning over the properties under his charge, is without merit.”

*          *          *          *          *

PROUD AND SAD. I take personal pride in the decision of the Association of Communication Students of the University of Pangasinan naming our Ding Micua and Eva Visperas as Journalists of the Year, our Vir Biagtan as the best editorial cartoonist, our Tita Roces as best news writer and , of course, The PUNCH as the best and the most popular community newspaper in the province.

On the other hand, I‘m greatly saddened by the passing of Josie Tamondong, The PUNCH’s former columnist then as Josie Lolarga. She was one tough woman who knew how to fight back and loved to laugh.