Philippines Ends Death Penalty

MANILA, Philippines, JUNE 25, 2006 ( Philippine President Gloria Arroyo signed a law that abolished the death penalty.

The signing ceremony Saturday took place a day before she boarded a plane for her trip to Europe, during which, among other things, she will personally inform Benedict XVI about this decision when visiting him in the Vatican.

Arroyo signed the law in the presence of several guests, including Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the papal nuncio, who said: “This could be another very important, nice step to go on in showing that the culture of life is very alive and important in this country.”

“We cannot speak about human rights when the death penalty is imposed,” added the nuncio.

Australia, New Zealand and East Timor have also banned capital punishment.

Arroyo said that the death penalty has not been effective in its primary purpose of deterrence, adding: “We have taken a strong hand against the threats to the law and the Republic, but at the same time we yield to the high moral imperatives dictated by God to walk away from capital punishment.”