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In the crosshairs of conscience: John Kitzhaber's death penalty reckoning

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To cope with his dread, John Kitzhaber opened his leather-bound journal and began to write.
It was a little past 9 on the morning of Nov. 22, 2011. Gary Haugen had dropped his appeals. A Marion County judge had signed the murderer's death warrant, leaving Kitzhaber, a former emergency room doctor, to decide Haugen's fate. The 49-year-old would soon die by lethal injection if the governor didn't intervene.
Kitzhaber was exhausted, having been unable to sleep the night before, but he needed to call the families of Haugen's victims.
"I know my decision will delay the closure they need and deserve," he wrote.
The son of University of Oregon English professors, Kitzhaber began writing each day in his journal in the early 1970s. The practice helped him organize his thoughts and, on that particular morning, gather his courage.
Kitzhaber first dialed the widow of David Polin, an inmate Haugen beat and stabbed to death in 2003 while already serving a life sentence fo…

Manila lawmaker files bill reviving death penalty

Philippine police officers
Philippine police officers
A member of the House of Representatives from Metro Manila filed the first bill for the revival of the controversial death penalty in support of the vow of President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte to stamp out corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs "in 3 to 6 months."

Congressman Ruffy Biazon of Muntinlupa City in Metro Manila said his bill sought to amend the law banning the imposition of capital punishment which Congress had passed in 2004.

"Filing the bill ahead will give the bill (an advantage) so it could be referred to the (appropriate) House committee and hopefully, taken up ahead in its agenda," Biazon pointed out.

Biazon was among the 90 House members who filed their pet bills on the first day of the filing on Thursday before the House and the Senate would open the 16th Congress on July 25 for a joint session to hear Duterte deliver his first state-of-nation address.

Duterte strongly urged the revival of the death penalty to strengthen his vow for an all-out war on corruption and rampant criminality especially illegal drugs which, he warned, were destroying particularly the youth of the land.

But even before Congress could act on its revival, officials said an intensified police campaign resulted in the death of more than 60 suspected "drug lords" and dealers since the May 9 election.

On Friday, police reported that at least 8 more "major" drug dealers - 6 from Bulacan in Central Luzon and 1 each from Sorsogon in the Bicol Region and Negros Oriental in the Visayas - were killed in "shoot-outs" a day after Duterte took his oath as the country's 16th president.

Duterte pressed for the restoration of the death penalty despite strong opposition from Pope Francis as well as local human rights advocates led by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). Without referring to any country, Pope Francis warned against the return of capital punishment in his recent message sent to an international conference against its revival which was hosted by Oslo in Norway.

The Philippine Congress abolished the death penalty and replaced it with life imprisonment which was imposed on "heinous" crimes like plunder, illegal drugs, murder, kidnap-for-ransom, robbery-homicide and rape.

Source: The Gulf Today, July 2, 2016

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