Pope Francis visit makes revival of death penalty unlikely – Santiago

/ 03:36 PM December 17, 2014


Pope Francis prays in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, on the occasion of the Immaculate Conception feast, in Rome, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014.  AP

Pope Francis AP

MANILA, Philippines – With the imminent visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, the proposal to revive the death penalty, at least for big-time drug traffickers, is unlikely to get off the ground, according to Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

Santiago said European countries are expected to also oppose the move.


The proposal for the return of capital punishment came from Sen. Vicente Sotto III, who said the longest jail sentence under the country’s laws do not serve as a deterrent to most criminals, and this was underscored by the recent discovery of the luxurious lifestyles of moneyed convicts behind bars.

But Santiago said this proposal was sure to meet with resistance, especially since the head of the Catholic Church is coming to visit next month.


Miriam Santiago 1

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago

“It will not sit well with the coming visit of the Pope of the Catholic Church, which has always been anti-capital punishment,” she told reporters.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, along with human rights groups, had opposed Sotto’s proposal to revive the death penalty, even if it would be limited to high-level drug traffickers.

“The CBCP and the church for that matter is very consistent that we’re not going to choose the kind of people we’re going to kill,” Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the CBCP’s permanent committee on public affairs, said in a Senate hearing the other day.

Santiago said European countries have been against the death penalty, and had strongly supported earlier moves to repeal the law.

“They tried to persuade us as much as they could,” she said.

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