Philippines defends restoring death penalty

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Manila : The Philippines government plans to go ahead with its bid to restore the death penalty even as the Pope called it inadmissible under Catholicism -- a faith professed by 85 per cent in the country.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Friday that the Philippines government "would still try gentle persuasion" but it was up to the senators to approve the law seeking to restore capital punishment in the Philippines after it was outlawed in 2006.

Roque underlined at a press conference that restoring the death penalty for serious drug-related crimes remained one of the priorities of the administration "but it's really a decision of the senators now".

In March 2017, the House of Representatives passed a draft law on restoring capital punishment, which is one of President Rodrigo Duterte's electoral promises as part of his war on drugs.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, which opposed this move of Duterte from the outset, said in a statement that the Pope's declaration from the previous day clarified all doubts on where the Catholic Church stood with respect to the death penalty.

Capital punishment was abolished in the Philippines in 2006 when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was President and who since July 23 is the new leader of the House of Representatives and one of Duterte's main allies in the Parliament.