Church critical of Philippines vote to re-introduce capital punishment

The Catholic Church in the Philippines has lamented the passage of a vote to reintroduce the death penalty.

On March 7, legislators voted 217 to 54 to bring back capital punishment, a victory for hard-line President Rodrigo Duterte. The vote means the legislation moves to the nation’s Senate for final approval, though this is almost assured as Mr Duterte’s party holds a majority there.

Responding to the vote, the president of the bishops’ conference, Archbishop Socrates Villegas, expressed disappointment but stressed that he and his fellow prelates “do not feel defeated [nor] will be silenced”.

A statement from the conference said: “In the middle of Lent we prepare to celebrate the triumph of life over death, and while we are saddened because the House voted for death, our faith assures us that life will triumph.”

A tool of the Marcos dictatorship from 1972-’81, the death penalty was outlawed in the Philippines in 1987.