Philippines make a step closer to abolishing capital punishment

The constitution only permits execution for "heinous crimes" such as murder, child rape, and kidnapping.

The Senate bill passed Tuesday says life imprisonment or a 40-year jail term can be imposed instead of death, depending on the offense.

The death penalty law took effect in 1994 at the height of a crime spree, when victims' families demanded capital punishment.

Arroyo has said she would support abolishing the death penalty, and has certified as "urgent" the bill repealing death penalty,  the AP reports.

The critics say she also wants backing from the international community, which is concerned over her accusations her government is becoming more repressive.

Arroyo's decision would save the lives of about 1,200 death-row convicts, including at least 11 al-Qaida-linked militants.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team