Philippine Senate and House Vote Overwhelmingly to Abolish Death Penalty

On June 6, the Philippine Senate voted with no negative votes to abolish the death penalty.  Even senators who supported the death penalty voted for abolition.  Life without parole sentences or 40 years in prison will be substituted for execution, depending on the offense.   President Arroyo is strongly in favor of the effort to end the death penalty.  Under the bill, all death sentences will be commuted to life sentences.

One of the senators who was hesitant about ending capital punishment, Sen. Richard Gordon, nevertheless said, "It is so easy to kill a person to bring him to justice, but the lifetime suffering of a nation when it finds out that it has made a mistake is indelible."  Some of Gordon's family members had been murdered earlier.

On the same day, the Philippine House of Representatives voted 119-20 for a similar bill outlawing capital punishment.  The two bodies are expected to reconcile differences in their bills and President Arroyo is expected to sign the final version of the legislation.

The death penalty had been re-established in the Philippines in 1993.  There have been 7 executions since then.  Lethal injection was the method of  execution.  There are currently 1,022 inmates on death row.

(Daily Tribune and InQ7.net, June 7, 2006).  See International.