Philippines: Death Penalty Bill Weakens Mercy Appeals For Death Row Inmates

The proposed revival of capital punishment in the Philippines “weakens appeals to save” Filipinos on death row abroad, warns a church body that works with migrant workers.

Edmund Ruga of the Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant People said the approval of the bill is an indication that the Philippines agrees with death penalty.

The bill seeking to re-impose the capital punishment was approved in the Lower House of the Philippine Congress on March 7.

“How can we demand other countries stop executing Filipinos if we are promoting death itself?” said Ruga.

Church groups, however, are optimistic that a strong lobby will still work against the passage of the proposed measure.

Nikka Sebastian of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the bishops’ conference said her organization will “solicit commitments” from senators.

“We want their assurance that the death penalty will not be pushed through the Senate,” she said, adding that if the bill becomes law, the Philippines will lose the right to ask mercy for Filipinos sentenced to death abroad.

At least 88 Filipinos are on death row on various countries, according to the Philippines’ Foreign Affairs office.

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