The Philippines moves to reintroduce capital punishment

The Philippines has edged closer to reintroducing capital punishment, with the Philippine House of Representatives voting overwhelmingly in favour of a bill that would allow the execution of criminals.

The bill, which forms part of president Rodrigo Duterte’s hardline law and order agenda, passed the lower house by a majority of 216-54, with one abstention. The Senate will now debate a counterpart bill that will allow the President’s proposed policy to become law.

The bill permits execution via hanging, firing squad and lethal injection. President Duterte spoken repeatedly of his desire to hang criminals, as many as ‘20 per day’.

Opponents spoke out strongly in the house, describing the measure as barbaric, regressive and no deterrent against crime. Representative Jose Christopher Belonte said lawmakers voting in favor would have "blood on our hands". Human Rights groups and the Catholic Church have also condemned the proposal, and have warned politicians to expect a backlash from their constituents.

It is not clear whether the bill will pass the Senate, with several representatives in the chamber, even some Duterte-loyalists, being opposed to the change.

Capital punishment has been outlawed in the Philippines since 2006, when it was abolished by then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

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