A Philippine bishop urged Catholics not to vote for candidates who advocate the revival of the death penalty in the country.
Bishop Jose Cabantan of Malaybalay said Filipinos, who will elect national and local leaders on May 9, should choose officials who “respect the right to life.”
The prelate said church teachings emphasize the “value and inviolability of human life” and the focus on “restorative justice” that will deter crimes, improve law enforcement, and the justice system.
Data from the Philippine National Police show that in 2015 crime incidents soared by 46 percent compared to the previous year.
Authorities, however, said the increase in the statistics did not mean a worsening crime rate but was due in part to underreporting by local police units in the past.
Louie Tito Guia of the Commission on Elections noted the “vital role” of the Catholic Church in educating voters.
He said the church is the “most all-encompassing institution” in the country that plays a big role in “political and social change.”
Some 55 million Filipinos are registered to vote in the May 2016 elections.