Binay leaves for Beijing to meet Chinese authorities on drug menace

February 18, 2011 11:16 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Feb. 18 — Vice President Jejomar C. Binay took off for China early Friday morning for two-day meetings with key authorities associated with the scheduled execution in China next week of three Filipino drug smugglers, his office confirmed.

The trip materialized only hours after Binay himself announced that Beijing had said in a note verbale to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that “now is not the appropriate time” to visit China in connection with the Philippine government’s campaign to have the death sentences commuted to life imprisonment or stayed.

On Friday, Binay meets the President of the People’s Supreme Court of China, Wang Shengjun. The following day, Saturday, the Presidential Assistant on OFW Concerns, would meet the Chinese Executive Vice Foreign Minister.

DFA said the “visit aims to reaffirm the close friendship between Philippines and China, and manifest the common resolve of both countries to address the drug menace,” without mentioning the angle of commutation of the death sentences of the trio of Filipinos.

“In receiving Vice President Binay, the Chinese government took into serious consideration the sentiments of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Filipino people,” DFA Secretary Alberto G. Romulo said.

The news made Binay ecstatic considering that just hours earlier, he relayed the news that Beijing said in a note verbale that “now is not the appropriate time” to visit China.

Still, he was optimistic that the China visit would materialize even as he enjoined the nation to pray for a miracle to spare the lives of his countrymen.

The Vice President left ahead of the families of the Filipinos who have been allowed to visit the convicts before the scheduled execution on February 21 and 22. (PNA)

scs/GJB

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