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Philippines Congress votes to end capital punishment

[JURIST] Both the Philippines Senate [official website] and House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday passed bills [House bill summary] repealing the country's 12-year old death penalty law in a move that brings the country one step closer to abolishing the death penalty. The bill will replace all current death penalty sentences with a life imprisonment term. Because both the House [press release] and Senate bills are certified as "urgent" [press release], the bill will go directly to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo [official website; JURIST news archive] for her signature, bypassing ordinary bicameral negotiations to sort out differing details.

Arroyo commuted all death sentences to life in prison sentences [JURIST report] in April, a move prompting critics to claim she was trying to gain support from the country's Catholic Church [Philippines Catholic Bishops Conference website] in her effort to amend the Philippines Constitution [text] to create a parliamentary political system to replace the current US-style presidential system [JURIST report]. Aljazeera has more. The Philippines Star has local coverage.

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