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Lawmakers warned about Duterte’s death penalty bid

MANILA (UCAN): In his July 22 State of the Nation Address (Sunday Examiner, July 28), the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, said that he wanted capital punishment reinstated for “heinous crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder.”
 
Rodolfo Diamante, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, urged members of Congress to work for the welfare of the people and “not to pass measures just to please the president.”
 

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Philippine Church leaders decry return of death penalty

MANILA (UCAN): Church leaders in the Philippines have warned against any moves to pass a law that will revive the imposition of capital punishment. The Episcopal Commission on Prison Pastoral Care issued a statement on June 20 reminding newly elected legislators of their responsibility “to defend human life.”
 
Moves to revive the death penalty failed in the last Congress, but Church leaders said recent statements made by new legislators on the re-imposition of the death penalty were disturbing.
 

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Death penalty is inhumane and ignores mercy pope says

VATICAN (CNS): The death penalty is an inhumane form of punishment that ignores the primacy of mercy in the name of justice, Pope Francis told a delegation from the International Commission against the Death Penalty on December 17. The pope set aside his prepared remarks and spoke off the cuff, the Vatican said.
 

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In support of anti-death penalty bid

HONG KONG (UCAN): Italian-born Father Franco Mella of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, and along with other advocates attempted to lodge a petition at the Consulate-General of Japan and the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong seeking the abolition of the death penalty with representatives of the governments of both Japan and China.
 
Personnel at both locations refused to accept the petition from the petitioners who were singing and shouting slogans, on October 10, the World Day against the Death Penalty.

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Death penalty bill directed at individuals

Life is for living. It is to experience freedom to love and help others, to be free to grow and have a family. To be human is to be free from fear and punishment and ill health, poverty and hunger.
 
Living is to be free to think, to speak our thoughts and freely choose the good. To be alive is to have justice and dignity and the fullness of existence. To be able to say I am alive and I know that I am is to be aware of life.
 








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Rule of fear masquerades as society welfare

MANILA (SE): On 24 June 2006, the day that the Philippine congress removed the death penalty from its law books, the lights of the Colosseum in Rome burned brightly.

The shell is a sacred site in the Eternal City, standing as a reminder of the brutality of a bygone age, when it was an execution ground for the unwanted and a venue for the blood sport of the Roman Empire.

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We’re not hopeless cases

MANILA (SE): The determination of the administration of Rodrigo Duterte to re-imposition the death penalty can mean only one thing, “Filipinos are hopeless cases,” a gathering of young people in Surigao, The Philippines, said on March 22.

“Passing the death penalty is as good as saying that the Filipino people are a hopeless case—that we are not capable of conversion,” the rally, organised by Youth for Christ, acclaimed.

A statement entitled, Life-giving justice not deadly revenge, released by the group challenges the Duterte administration to bring about a positive and influential change in the country.

The group says it is the sworn mandate of the government to improve the quality of life rendering death penalty unnecessary.

“It is… more becoming of a government to help their citizens in their moral transformation rather than putting an end to their life,” the statement says. “Killing a person through capital punishment will take away the opportunity of the person to repent and change.”

Describing the death penalty as a call to revenge and not to justice, the group says, “We want the young people to continue valuing life no matter how deformed and depraved it may be. We want to teach the young people not to (seek) revenge, but to promote transformative justice for everyone,” CBCP News reported.

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Congress ducks for cover

MANILA (SE): The infamous Kill Bill, which seeks to reintroduce the death penalty and is currently before the congress in The Philippines was given a second haircut, as the number of crimes that would have qualified in the original bill was shaved from 21 down to three and then to one, when it returned for a second reading on February 28.

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Insidious diluting of the Kill Bill

MANILA (SE): In the face of mounting opposition from both the general public and the senate to a proposal before the congress to reintroduce the death penalty in The Philippines, the list of crimes that could see an offender go to the gallows, the lethal injection room or stand in front of a firing squad has been considerably trimmed from its original 21.

Those that are being kept on the bill are the rarely invoked crimes of treason and plunder, but significantly a wide variety of drug-related offences.

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Catholic but not Christian?

MANILA (SE): The Philippines is widely hailed as the only Catholic country in Asia, but despite being Catholic, it is struggling to live out its Christian values.

In recent months, Archbishop Socrates Villegas has lamented the silence of his flock in the face of the mass killing of the poor instigated by the president, Rodrigo Duterte, saying that it is the complicity of silence from the pews that has enabled the massacre to prosper.

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