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.

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

Indonesian death row Catholics lose court appeal (CathNews 16/5/06)
Jesuit's silent protest against noose (CathNews 15/3/06)
Pell says abolishing death penalty won't be easy (CathNews 5/12/05)
Rome group set to mobilise world against death penalty (CathNews 25/11/05)
Commission urges Catholics act on death penalty (CathNews 23/11/05)
US Bishops statement calls for rejection of death penalty (CathNews 17/11/05)

Philippine Congress Votes to End Death Penalty (Zenit 7/6/06)
Arroyo moves to end death penalty (The Tablet 29/4/06)
Sandie Cornish: Arbitrarily to the gallows (Eureka Street 30/5/06)
Dominican Republic cardinal decries proposal to legalize death penalty (Catholic News Agency 20/4/06)
Korean Bishops Urge End to Death Penalty (Zenit 21/3/06)

9 Jun 2006