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Philippines pushes for return of death penalty

MANILA (UCAN): Three bills were filed in the congress seeking to revive the death penalty by maverick senator, sometime evangelical pastor and boxing great, Manny Pacquiao, on August 3.

The bible bashing pastor said, “It is in the bible.”

Pacquiao maintains that the imposition of capital punishment for some crimes, including those related to the drug trade, is not against Christian teaching.

“In God’s eyes, it is not prohibited,” the sometime politician and arguably one of the greatest boxers of all time said.

Pacquiao said that he filed the bills after meeting the president, Rodrigo Duterte, who launched an all-out war on illegal drugs after winning the polls on May 9.

“He asked for the death penalty to be passed.... He really wants to have the death penalty. Of course, I also want it,” Pacquiao said.

He also defended the involvement of the authorities in the recent spate of summary executions of suspected drug users and peddlers, running the line that drug lords are responsible for all of them.

“Those who were killed, those were the ones ordered killed by the drug lords, people who might spill the beans,” Pacquiao said.

Just one year ago, the bishops introduced a prayer for peace in the region in which they stated that The Philippines is a Christian nation that only seeks peaceful relations among peoples.

But people not satisfied with the mass slaughter in its streets, are also making a strong push for the death penalty.

Father Jerome Secillano, the secretary of the Public Affairs Office in Manila, said, “The problem with (Pacquiao) is that he’s a little bit inconsistent with his convictions.”

Father Secillano explained, “If he can assail the LGBT group based on his faith, why file a bill that, I’m very sure, goes against this same faith he adheres to?”

In February, Pacquiao came under fire for calling people in gay relationships “worse than animals,” saying same-sex marriage and attraction goes against the teaching of the bible.

Father Secillano said Pacquiao can file the bills, but added that faith should not be flaunted to justify any legislation.

“But I’d like to emphasise that people should not be fooled by politicians who use their faith to look good,” he said.

The Philippines placed a moratorium on capital punishment in 2001 and five years later commuted the sentences of 1,230 people on death-row to life imprisonment in what Amnesty International described as the largest ever commutation of death sentences.

Former president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, abolished the death penalty in 2006 at which time she received high praise from the Vatican. 

Critics said that she was really angling for a papal visit during her presidency to rescue her plummeting popularity in the country.

Around the same time, she was severely chastised by Irene Khan, the director of Amnesty International, for ignoring a United Nations report on extrajudicial murder in the country.

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