Monday, June 26, 2006
Pope Benedict and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo shake hands during an official meeting at the Vatican June 26, 2006. Arroyo, seeking to shore up support from powerful Roman Catholic bishops, signed a law on June 24 abolishing the death penalty before her visit to the Vatican. REUTERS/Max Rossi (VATICAN)
MANILA, June 26 (CNA) - The president of the Philippines, on Saturday, signed a law abolishing the death penalty and called on all Filipinos to "celebrate life in the most meaningful way." She also thanked the Catholic Church for “being a beacon of grace and discernment” and for leading the campaign against the death penalty, prior to meeting with the Pope on Sunday.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo attempted to allay fears, of many, that the abolition of capital punishment, "opens the floodgates," of crime. She vowed that she would not relent in battling terrorists and criminals, reported the Philippine Star.
"We shall continue to devote the increasing weight of our resources to the prevention and control of serious crimes, rather than take the lives of those who commit them," Arroyo was quoted as saying.
"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," said the president, who is a devout Catholic. [More]