VP flies to Beijing to appeal for life sentences for 3 OFWs

February 17, 2011 12:28 pm 

MANILA, Feb. 17 — Vice President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ (OFW) Concerns Jejomar C. Binay is scheduled to depart today, Thursday, for Beijing, China to appeal for the lives of three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who were meted death penalties by China's Supreme People's Court earlier.

Binay said he will appeal to the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China to commute the death penalty of the three OFWs to life imprisonment for humanitarian reasons,” echoing the call of President Benigno Aquino III.

“We do not question the decision of the Chinese courts in meting the death penalty on the accused. However, the accused are not the principals in this case,” Binay added.

Binay noted that the said OFWs were “ordinary Filipinos” who left the country in search for a better life for their families. He added that they were taken advantage of by drug syndicates and made to carry illegal drugs in exchange for easy money.

The Vice President also emphasized that the accused are not drug traffickers, pushers, manufacturers or users.

“I am calling on the Chinese government to re-evaluate the sentence in light of the aforementioned considerations,” he said.

The Supreme People’s Court in Beijing upheld on February 11 the death sentence that lower courts in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong meted on three unnamed Filipino nationals.

The three, one male and two females, were convicted for smuggling 4-6 kilograms of heroin in 2008.

Under Chinese law, smuggling of 50 grams or more of heroin or equivalent drugs is punishable with death. (PNA)

DCT/OTO/mec

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