|Philippines||ESTRADA DECLARES DEATH PENALTY MORATORIUM FOR JUBILEE|
Philippine President Joseph Estrada has said his government will observe a moratorium on all executions this year as part of an agreement with the country's Catholic bishops, as a Jubilee Year gesture.
Estrada said the ban will end next January and will effectively commute the sentences of at least 18 death-row inmates to life in prison. Filipino law requires an execution to be carried out between one year and 18 months after a death sentence has been declared final by the Supreme Court. The 18 prisoners would be able to be executed within the six-month period.
The death penalty was re-established in 1994 after it was abolished in 1986 following the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More than 1000 people have received death penalties since 1994 and at least 80 have been upheld by the Supreme Court.