UN's top human rights official welcomes deferment of execution in Philippines

UN's top human rights official welcomes deferment of execution in Philippines

Mary Robinson
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today hailed the Government of the Philippines for deferring the execution of a convict who would have been the country's first prisoner to be put to death since 1999.

High Commissioner Mary Robinson acknowledged the seriousness of the crime which Rolando Pagdayawon was convicted of committing and voiced "the deepest sympathy for the victim" in a statement released in Geneva.

The 1987 Philippines Constitution abolished the death penalty, but it was restored in 1994 for "heinous crimes." President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo suspended the death penalty after taking office in January 2001, and although the moratorium was lifted last October, there have been no executions since then.

Mrs. Robinson added her voice to those calling on the Government of the Philippines to continue its moratorium and eventually abolish the death penalty. She reiterated her opposition to executions, and recalled that the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says the abolition of the death penalty "contributes to enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights."