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Duterte: Drugs reduce people to 'bestial state'

The incoming president insisted on executing criminals by hanging days after Pope Francis issued a statement opposing death penalty. AP/Bullit Marquez
MANILA, Philippines — President-elect Rodrigo Duterte insisted on executing criminals by hanging days after Pope Francis issued a statement opposing death penalty.
 
Duterte said while critics of capital punishment view it as “inhuman,” criminals who were under the influence of drugs have been reduced to a “bestial state.”
 
“I’m asking for reimposition of death penalty so that I can hang them (criminals),” Duterte said during the turnover ceremony of the Davao City Police Office.
 
“They say that death penalty is inhuman. But what is so human about killing an 18-year old child or raping her? Drugs have reduced into human killing into bestial state,” he added.
 
Duterte reiterated that death penalty is more of a retribution than a deterrent to a crime.
 
“If there is death penalty, you won’t be afraid anymore because you will be killed,” he said.
 
 
Capital punishment was abolished in 1987 during the presidency of Corazon Aquino but was reimposed in 1993 under President Fidel Ramos.
 
Crimes that were punishable by death include kidnapping, murder, drug trafficking and rape.
 
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo scrapped the death penalty anew in 2006. Her successor, President Benigno Aquino III also opposed capital punishment, saying this cannot be imposed believing this would not address criminality in the country.
 
The restoration of death penalty is one of the priorities of the administration of Duterte, who anchored his campaign on maintaining peace and order.
 
On Tuesday, Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic Church’s opposition to the death penalty, saying it goes against the will of God.
 
He stressed that both the guilty and the innocent have the right to life.
 
“It must not be forgotten that the inviolable and God-given right to life also belongs to the criminal,” the pontiff said in a video message sent to the delegates of the sixth World Congress against capital punishment in Oslo, Norway.
 
“Indeed, nowadays, the death penalty is unacceptable, however, grave the crime of the convicted person,” he added. — with a report from Natasha Isidro
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