MONDAY
March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

PHILIPPINES DECLARES DEATH PENALTY MORATORIUM FOR JUBILEE
Islamic rebels holding children; want Catholics out

    MANILA (CWNews.com) - Philippines' President Joseph Estrada said today his government will hold a moratorium on all executions this year as part of an agreement with the country's Catholic bishops as part of Jubilee Year observances.

    Estrada said the ban will end next January and will effectively commute the sentences of at least 18 death-row inmates to life in prison. Filipino law requires an execution to be carried out between one year and 18 months after a death sentence has been declared final by the Supreme Court. The 18 prisoners would be able to be executed within the six-month period.

    The death penalty was re-established in 1994 after it was abolished in 1986 following the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. More than 1,000 people have received death penalties since 1994 and at least 80 have been upheld by the Supreme Court.

    Meanwhile tensions mount in Sumisip in the southern part of the Philippines for an Islamic rebel group holding 50 Catholic schoolchildren hostage said on Thursday that they demand all Catholics leave the southern island so they can set up an Islamic state.

    Reporters who went to the remote island and slipped past military patrols to the camp of the Abu Sayyaf rebels said they saw the hostages, including a priest, who were taken from a Catholic high school earlier this week. Tensions rose on Thursday after armed men retaliated with the kidnapping of the wife and children of Abu Sayyaf's leader, Khadaffi Janjalani.

    "We will be forced to kill some of the hostages if the relatives of Janjalani are not released," one of the rebels said by telephone from the Abu Sayyaf camp on Friday. They have demanded negotiations with a representative from the Vatican, saying negotiations with the Filipino government was useless, and said their aim was to ensure all Catholics leave Basilan.

          

March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61
NEWS & VIEWS

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