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FALSE: Philippines is 'the only country in Asia' without death penalty

DEATH PENALTY. Senatorial candidates Raffy Alunan and JV Ejercito falsely claimed at a CNN Philippines debate that the Philippines is the only country in Asia to have repealed the death penalty. Screenshots from YouTube/CNN Philippines

DEATH PENALTY. Senatorial candidates Raffy Alunan and JV Ejercito falsely claimed at a CNN Philippines debate that the Philippines is the only country in Asia to have repealed the death penalty.

Screenshots from YouTube/CNN Philippines

Claim: The Philippines is "the only country in Asia" that does not have the death penalty.

Senatorial hopefuls Raffy Alunan and JV Ejercito made similar claims at the CNN Philippines: #TheFilipinoVotes senatorial debate on April 27.

While explaining why he was for the death penalty, Alunan said, "We’re the only country in Asia, I think, that doesn’t have the death penalty."

Ejercito, also explaining why he was for the death penalty, said, "We are only one of two countries in the – in Asia that repealed death penalty."

Rating: FALSE

The facts: The Philippines is one of 14 countries in Asia that have abolished death penalty, contrary to claims by Senate bets Raffy Alunan and JV Ejercito in an April 27 CNN Philippines debate.

Amnesty International as of July 2018 lists the following Asian countries having abolished capital punishment for all crimes since 1976:

This list does not include Hong Kong, which abolished the death penalty in 1993. It became a special administrative region of China in 1997 but has remained abolitionist.

Seven more Asian countries are “abolitionist in practice” and have not executed anyone in the past 10 years despite retaining capital punishment, according to Amnesty International:

The 1987 Constitution, which prohibits “cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment,” says “neither shall the death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it.”

Republic Act No. 7659 enacted in 1993 imposed death penalty for certain heinous crimes, including treason, kidnapping, murder, rape and plunder. Republic Act No. 9346 in 2006 subsequently prohibited death penalty.

In 2017, a bill seeking to reimpose capital punishment was approved by the House of Representatives and was transmitted to the Senate where it remains pending. – Rappler.com

This fact check was written by the University of the Philippines Journalism Department. Rappler counter-checked their findings and agree with their rating.

Rappler is a partner of Tsek.ph, a collaborative project between the academe and newsrooms to fight disinformation and misinformation during the 2019 Philippine elections. Tsek.ph fact checks claims made by candidates, false stories spread online, and submissions sent in by readers.