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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…

Philippines: House poised to pass 'watered-down' death penalty bill

MANILA - The House of Representatives is poised to pass a watered-down version of the bill reimposing the death penalty.

The Supermajority will meet in a closed door caucus again on Monday to perfect the amendments to the bill which is now one step short of the vote on 2nd reading—-which is indicative of the vote on final reading.

The plenary adjourned last week after adopting the substitute bill during the period of amendments. 

The substitute bill reduced the crimes that will be punishable with death penalty to just 4 from the original 21--rape, treason, plunder and illegal drugs.

House Justice Committee Chair Rey Umali said he thinks they can no longer water down the bill.

"I don't know how much more we can water it down. It's already watered down, from 21 crimes down to 4," he said.

"We have agreed through the causes to reduce the crimes covered to 4 namely treason, plunder, rape and drugs and even within drugs binawasan pa natin yun possession is not covered," he added.

He admitted that the amendments of the bill made it more acceptable to lawmakers.

The Monday meeting will be a fine tuning of the gravity of provisions of the bill according to Umali, such as the specifics of the 4 crimes.

"We will just tweak the substitute bill to just make sure ma-cover yung the more grave crime doon sa final version namin but only will fall within the 4 crimes covered," he said.

Umali also raised the possibility of voting on the bill earlier than scheduled—which is on Tuesday.


'NO PRESSURE FROM CATHOLIC CHURCH'


Meanwhile, Rep. Estrelita Suansing and Deputy Speaker Gwen Garcia both maintained there is no Church pressure on them to vote against the bill.

"The answer is no. There is no movement from the Church convincing us [how] to vote," Suansing said.

"Our archbishop of the Diocese of Cebu, Archbishop Palms, has not made any move whatsoever. Perhaps they also know my position is for the death penalty. [I'm] supporting the same position my father had in [the] 8th and 9th congresses," Garcia added.

Source: ABS-CBN News, February 27, 2017

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