05/19/2016, 11.37
PHILIPPINES
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Filipino bishop: To soon to judge contentious Duterte. No to death penalty

Msgr. Broderick Pabillo, Auxiliary of Manila, says that "the newly elected president has introduced a language of hatred and violence into the political landscape. We do not know how much of what he says is just propaganda". The mayor of Davao wants to ban alcohol, impose a curfew on minors and reintroduce hanging. "Death is never the way to build a better life."

Manila (AsiaNews) - "I do not know how much of this is propaganda, how much is provocation and how much is real intention. We stand by our constant teaching of the Church to promote life and not death. Death is never a means to bring about a better life for all” says Msgr. Broderick Pabillo, auxiliary bishop of Manila, commenting on the first words of Rodrigo Duterte, the newly elected President of the Philippines, and his proposal to reintroduce the death penalty by hanging.

On May 9 the mayor of Davao won the elections by a wide margin, winning 38% of the vote. His swearing in is scheduled for June 30. In his first press conference after his victory, "the executioner", said: "I will insist on Congress reintroducing the death penalty by hanging." The measure was abolished in 2006.

Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte, 71, is a member of the PDP-Laban Party and he was mayor of Davao City (southern Mindanao), for more than 22 years , a city that he transformed from crime capital and safe haven for mobsters to "one of Asia’a safest cities".

The newly elected president said he wanted to introduce the “Davao model " nationwide. This would include uprooting all types of organized crime, the introduction of a curfew for minors, including jail time for parents who allow their children to go out in prohibited zones, and a ban on the sale of alcohol in public places. Speaking to the media, Duterte said: "My order is to shoot and kill those who pose any resistance”. In foreign policy, he said he was ready to have closer relations with China and to start direct talks with Beijing to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

On the eve of the elections, a part of Philippine society had expressed strong "concerns" for a possible election of Duterte and the risk of a return to a military dictatorship, at least de facto. On the publication of the results of the polls, the Philippine Church has promised "vigilant cooperation" with the new leader.

"My personal opinion - continues Msgr. Pabillo - It is too early for now to comment on the talks and interviews of president-elect Duterte. He speaks a lot and then he reverses what he says. He has done this already during the campaign period. He words cause a lot of controversy and then he takes them back".

According to the Manila Auxiliary, "It is true that he introduces a language of violence and hate in the political landscape. I do not know how much of this is propaganda, how much is provocation and how much is real intention. We stand by our constant teaching of the Church to promote life and not death. Death is never a means to bring about a better life for all. Later on when he firms up the people around him and his programs then we can meaningfully engage him with our comments".

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