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Court Gives First Death Penalty Since Capital Punishment was Reimposed

April 19, 1994 GMT

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A court today sentenced a 26-year-old man to death for rape, the first time a death sentence has been imposed since the Philippines restored capital punishment this year.

Judge Maximiano Asuncion found Fernando Galera, a fish vendor, guilty of robbing and raping a woman on Jan. 6, five days after the capital punishment law took effect.

Galera also was ordered to pay the victim $3,570.

Capital punishment was abolished with ratification of the 1987 constitution. But the charter gave Congress the authority to restore it for ″heinous crimes.″

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A series of spectacular murders and kidnappings led to a public outcry for a crackdown on crime. Last year, both houses of Congress approved a capital punishment bill, which was signed by President Fidel Ramos.

Aside from rape, other major crimes carrying the death sentence include official corruption, kidnapping, trafficking in illegal drugs and murder.