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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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Death penalty resurrects as democracy wanes

MANILA (SE): Countries across the world today have been systematically taking the death penalty off their law books as democracy within their borders strengthens, but recently, as the power of the people has been waning in many traditional democracies, it is gradually being reintroduced.

The Philippines is no exception and as the current president, Rodrigo Duterte, ups the ante in his rule of fear over the country, the blood-soaked soil of the land has made it fertile ground for its reintroduction.

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Death penalty just a vote puller

MANILA (SE): The Prison Ministry of The Philippines called on the president, Rodrigo Duterte, and the congress not to give the people false hope by pretending the death penalty will do anything to lessen the crime rate in the nation.

Rodolfo Diamante, from the Prison Ministry, called the death penalty an affront to human dignity and a slick political move to give the impression that the government is doing something about crime.

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Pakistan again baulks on blasphemy case

ISLAMABAD (AsiaNews): The long awaited appeal against the death sentence and conviction for blasphemy of Pakistani Catholic woman, Asia Bibi, was again postponed by the Supreme Court in Islamabad on October 13, when one of the three judges stepped down from the case.

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China’s decreasing death penalty rate

BEIJING (SE): China has often been the butt of criticism for its extremely high rate of executions, but Shan Yuxiao and Li Rongde reported in Caixin Online that a legal forum in Beijing on September 8 heard that numbers for last year show it has fallen by more than 60 per cent from the 10,000 annually recorded almost a decade ago.

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The death penalty has already arrived

The speaker in the House of Representatives, Pantaleon Alvarez, and the member from Capiz, Fredenil Castro, want to put the death penalty back on the Philippine law books claiming that it is a deterrent to crime.