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Church in Philippines hails death penalty abolition


The Bishops' Conference in the Philippines described the country's decision on Wednesday to abolish the death penalty as a "step that takes the country from justice that kills to justice that heals."

AsiaNews reports Bishop Pedro Arrigo, chairman of the Episcopal Commission of Prison and Pastoral Care, said: "It is very important that both the Senate and the House of Representatives approved separate bills to abolish the imposition of the 1994 death penalty law."

"We congratulate all those who worked for this goal as a people and nation. Divided in recent time by political differences, we now unite for a common cause, that in favour of human life," he said.

The bishop said the Philippines had now "joined the ranks of the ever growing number of countries that have chosen to abolish capital punishment from their legal system."

To date, according to the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care, about 124 countries have stopped executions.

There are 1,200 people on death row in the country, including at least 11 terrorists linked to al-Qaeda. Fr Roberto Olaguer said at least 100 faced the prospect of imminent execution.

When the bill passes into law - when the President signs it - pending sentences will automatically be commuted to life in prison.

The Filipino Government executed seven people between 1999 and 2000, but shortly afterwards, it declared a moratorium on executions, prompted to do so by the Catholic Church and the European Union.


SOURCE
Church hails abolition of death penalty (AsiaNews.it 8/6/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines | Church lauds abolition of death penalty | Archbishp Angel N. Lagdameo: From Death to Life
Helen Prejean CSJ
Death Penalty Discourse Network

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9 Jun 2006