Duterte Seeks Revived Death Sentence

President Rodrigo Duterte (Public Domain image)

Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, the head of the Philippine bishops’ conference, urged Catholic lawmakers on Sept. 14 not to support “any attempt to restore the death penalty” and called on Catholic lawyers to “study the issue and to oppose” it by filing legal cases against it. Less than a week after Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office as president of the Philippines, a staunch political ally and the new speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, Pantaleon Álvarez of Davao del Norte, filed a proposal to reinstate the death penalty. Duterte ran, and won by a large margin, on a platform of ridding the country of criminals by having them killed and encouraging the public to kill them. He has repeatedly called for the death penalty to be reinstated and, in early September, again urged the Philippine Congress to pass the bill. Since Duterte took office on June 30, more than 3,400 people accused of drug dealing or addiction have died at the hands of law enforcement and private citizens.

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