Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

23 February 2006 :

for the first time since taking office in 2001, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo categorically stated that she was for scrapping capital punishment and that she would see to the immediate passage of legislation to abolish the Death Penalty Law.
"I am all in favor of repealing the death penalty [law] and when it comes to the committee level [in Congress], I will certify it,” said the President, who spoke at a forum of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines.
The President made it clear that she wanted the death penalty scrapped because of her Catholic beliefs and not because she wanted to get on the good side of the Catholic bishops, some of whom were supporting demands for her to resign. Arroyo made the statement when she was asked about her often changing position on capital punishment.
Arroyo said that early in her presidency, she had said that she was in favor of executing some convicts "because at that time kidnapping incidents were rampant.”
"But really, Divine Providence has been very good to me. By the time the death penalty was to be imposed on a kidnapper, kidnapping had gone down to zero,” she said.
To the question if she was seeking the repeal of the death penalty as a political accommodation to Catholic bishops, Arroyo insisted she was "pro-life.”
"It's a question of my Catholic beliefs. I was born and baptized and raised a Catholic,” she said.

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