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Aquino rules out return of death penalty
Philippine president, bishops say capital punishment no solution to crime surgePresident Benigno Aquino III speaks with Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma (Photo courtesy of MalacaĂ±ang)
- Julian Labores and ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- January 20, 2011
âI used to support the death penalty. But Iâve seen for myself that the implementation of justice is not perfect, so I have changed my position,â the president said.
Aquino said capital punishment can only be applied if a judicial system is perfect and flawless.
Capital punishment was abolished in the Philippines in 2006.
Kalookan Bishop Deogracias IĂ±iguez Jr. also spoke out against the reintroduction of capital punishment.
Authorities should focus on effective law enforcement to address rising crime instead of considering the re-imposition of capital punishment, he said.
âDeath is not the answer,â the bishop who heads the public affairs department of the Catholic bishopsâ conference emphasized.
Calls for the return of the death penalty have increased following the recent murders of two car dealers.
The Catholic Church in the Philippines is strongly opposed to the death penalty, saying criminals should have the chance to reform and repent.
âThe penal system should aim not just to punish but to correct. The guilty should have the chance to reform and repent. Executing them wonât give them that chance,â Bishop IĂ±iguez said.
The bishopsâ Commission on Prison Pastoral Care, meanwhile, said âonly poor people would be penalizedâ by death if the countryâs present justice system stays as it is.
âItâs time authorities look at the problem of enforcing the law instead of looking at the death penalty ... Those pushing for this want a quick-fix solution [to the problem],â said Rodolfo Diamante, executive director of the commission.
Death row inmate âneeds a second chanceâ
Top priest slams death penalty proposal