'Restore death penalty by hanging', says Duterte

Mr Duterte (left) greeting supporters yesterday in Davao. The Philippine leader said he would give security forces "shoot-to-kill" orders for organised criminals or those who resist arrest violently.
Mr Duterte (left) greeting supporters yesterday in Davao. The Philippine leader said he would give security forces "shoot-to-kill" orders for organised criminals or those who resist arrest violently.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MANILA • Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday that he will ask Congress to restore capital punishment, as he vowed to pursue his pledge to wage a devastating war on crime.

"What I would do is urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging," he told reporters.

"Rape, plus death of the victim, must be death penalty. Kidnapping with ransom, and then death of the victim, must be death penalty," he declared.

"Robbery with homicide with rape, double the hanging. After you hang them, there will be another ceremony for another time. Until the head is completely severed from the body. I would like that because I'm angry."

In a news briefing late on Sunday, Mr Duterte said he would also give security forces "shoot-to-kill" orders against organised criminals or those who resist arrest violently.

GETTING TOUGH ON CRIME

What I would do is urge Congress to restore the death penalty by hanging. Rape, plus death of the victim, must be death penalty. Kidnapping with ransom, and then death of the victim, must be death penalty. Robbery with homicide with rape, double the hanging.

MR RODRIGO DUTERTE, Philippine President-elect.

 

"If you resist, show violent resistance, my order to police (will be) to shoot to kill," he said.

He named three former Davao police chiefs - who helped him prosecute a brutal anti-crime campaign in the southern city - as possible candidates for head of the 160,000-strong national police force.

The 71-year-old Mr Duterte built his reputation on having transformed Davao - during his reign as mayor for more than three decades - from being a battleground of vigilante groups and communist partisans to one of the safest cities in the Philippines.

The body count in his brutal campaign against crime, however, exceeded 1,000, and Mr Duterte himself admitted having had a hand in some death squad-style summary executions.

The Philippines' human rights commission and Catholic Church said yesterday that they would oppose any effort to restore the death penalty.

"Our current position is that the death penalty is contrary to human dignity and human rights," said human rights commission chief Luis Martin Gascon.

Archbishop Oscar Cruz, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, said the church in the Catholic-majority country "would not stand for it".

"The state did not give life to anyone, so it cannot take life from anyone. That is clear," he said.

Turning to another cornerstone pledge, Mr Duterte repeated that he would pursue peace talks with Marxist guerillas and would offer, as an olive branch, government roles to the Communist Party of the Philippines, including its exiled founder Jose Maria Sison.

He said he was offering the labour, social welfare, environment and agrarian reform ministries to the communists as part of the effort to end one of the longest-running insurgencies in the world.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2016, with the headline ''Restore death penalty by hanging''. Print Edition | Subscribe