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Tuesday, 4 January, 2000, 10:53 GMT
Philippines execution first of millennium

Alex Bartolome Bartolome first abused his daughter when she was 14


A convicted rapist has been executed by lethal injection in the Philippines in the first known judicial execution of the new millennium.

Alex Bartolome, 41, an unskilled worker, was convicted in 1995 of raping his daughter more than a 100 times.

His execution - the seventh in the Philippines since the death penalty was re-introduced in 1994 - came after President Joseph Estrada ruled out a last-miniute reprieve.



It is possible that the Philippines is the only Christian nation that greeted the new millennium by killing a fellow Christian
Cardinal Jaime Sin

President Estrada said he wanted the execution, which was carried out in Manila, to serve as a warning to would-be criminals, especially rapists and drug-traffickers.

The execution was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church which has led appeals against judicial execution.

"The execution hurts our sensibilities, " said Cardinal Jaime Sin, the archbishop of Manila. "As it is with other executions, I say that something in us is dying slowly with the death of any human being."

Bartolome, who had six children, first raped his daughter when she was 14- years-old, threatening to kill her if she revealed the abuse.

She finally disclosed the rapes in 1995 to her mother, who helped her bring the case to court.

Sentences commuted

Many Filipinos, concerned about rising crime, have supported the re-introduction of capital punishment which was abolished in 1987.

Although the death penaltywas restored in 1994, it was not enforced until last year when three rapists and three robbers were put to death - the first executions for 23 years.

The Catholic church has protested that innocent people could be executed because of flaws in the judicial system.

A study last year showed a 65-fold increase in the number of condemned prisoners in the previous five years.

Lawyers have warned that the number of death row inmates in the Philippines could swell to more than 50,000 within five years at the current rate of sentencing.

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See also:
13 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippine execution blocked
06 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Death row reprieve for poor
04 Feb 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Countdown to Philippines execution
05 Jan 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Philippine government to fight execution reprieve
04 Jan 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Reprieve for Philippine convict

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