Death Penalty is Dead

Arroyo signs law abolishing death penalty

Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a law on Saturday abolishing the death penalty, but vowed she will not relent in battling terrorists and criminals.

“We shall continue to devote the increasing weight of our resources to the prevention and control of serious crimes, rather than take the lives of those who commit them,” she said.

Arroyo called on law enforcers, judges, prosecutors and communities to help shoulder the responsibility of “sharpening law and justice for all”.

Controversial bill

Congress approved the bill abolishing capital punishment two weeks ago despite protests from anti-crime activists, who believe Arroyo, a staunch Roman Catholic, rushed its approval to please the Pope.

Arroyo is scheduled to leave for the Vatican on Sunday.

The Philippines’ 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty, which the government of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos used to execute about a dozen people convicted of rape and drug charges.

But Congress restored the death penalty in late 1993 for crimes such as murder, child rape and kidnapping.

Seven people have been executed since then.

The lives of more than 1,200 death-row convicts, including at least 11 al-Qaida-linked militants, will be spared due to the abolition of capital punishment. (AP)



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