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January 11 2009 | PHILIPPINES

Philippines

Death penalty bill revived at Senate, for drug smuggling. President Arroyo and the Church oppose it

 
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Death penalty bill revived at Senate

MANILA, Philippines –A bill reimposing the death penalty is being revived at the Senate by its author, Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri.

The measure is known as Senate Bill 2322 known as “An Act Reimposing the Penalty of Death on Certain Heinous Crimes Amending for the Purpose Certain Sections of the Revised Penal Code as Amended for Other Purposes.”

Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, however, opposed the return of capital punishment.

 

Arroyo remains opposed to death penalty

MANILA, Philippines -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains opposed to the death penalty despite fresh calls for its revival as the furor over the alleged bribery-tainted dismissal of a drug case against three wealthy young men rages.

“The President has always stood by the stand of the Church, which is against the imposition of death penalty,'' Secretary Cerge Remonde told reporters in a briefing Friday.

Remonde, head of the Presidential Management Staff, however, said that Arroyo would not close the door to debates on the proposed revival of the capital punishment to deal with big-time drug traffickers.

“We will listen to the discussions if this is tackled in the appropriate forum. However, there are those who still believe that the death penalty is not the answer to heinous crimes, such as drug trafficking,” he said.

Muntinlupa Representative Ruffy Biazon has said he would file a bill seeking to restore capital punishment for drug traffickers, arguing that they continue to run their business even behind bars.

Secretary Gabriel Claudio said it would take Congress to restore the capital punishment.

“If there should be new proposals for such re-imposition, we can rely on Congress to make a careful, sober, and comprehensive evaluation or review of this issue, listening as thoroughly as possible to the views of various sectors involved, including law enforcement agencies, crime advocates as well as the clergy,” he said.

 

Still no to death penalty--clergy

MANILA, Philippines -- The Catholic Church will not support calls to revive the death penalty for drug traffickers in the wake of allegations of bribery on justice officials and anti-narcotics agents involving three drug suspects from prominent families.

Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales said although the revival of the law would depend on lawmakers, the Church firmly stood in the Catholic commandment "thou shall not kill."

"Let them decide but the position of the Church is this: thou shall not kill. Therefore, if a person commits an error or a crime, there's such a thing as Christian forgiveness," said Rosales.

The calls to revive the death penalty stemmed from allegations that emissaries form Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph, and Joseph Tecson had tried to bribe officials from the Department of Justice and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in exchange for dropping the case against the three.

Brodett, Joseph, and Tecson were arrested in Ayala Alabang, Muntinlupa and Araneta Center in Quezon City in September.

Major Ferdinand Marcelino, who headed the buy-bust operation, admitted before the House of Representatives of the bribery attempts.

"Jesus forgives and that's it," said Rosales.

Rosales said even if a person committed a crime, the mistake could not be corrected by the penalty of death.

He said a good option against criminals would be to have him or her serve the offended party and allow that person to be a good citizen.

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