26 June 2006 :President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed a law abolishing the death penalty on the eve of her trip to the Vatican, but vowed she will not relent in battling terrorists and criminals.
"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," she said. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Fernando Filoni, the Vatican's envoy to Manila, congratulated Arroyo and legislators who approved the measure.
"This could be another very important nice step to go on in showing that the culture of life is very alive and important in this country," Filoni said. "We cannot speak about human rights when death penalty is imposed." Congress two weeks earlier approved a bill abolishing capital punishment despite protests from anti-crime activists, who believe Arroyo, a staunch Roman Catholic, rushed its approval to please the pope.