Another Filipino to be executed in China on Dec. 8 for drug trafficking

November 30, 2011 10:55 pm 

By Faye P. Velasco

MANILA, Nov. 30 — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)on Wednesday reiterated its appeal to all Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), "not to allow themselves to be victimized by international drug syndicates and to be extremely cautious when dealing with strangers in airports and other areas of transit."

The DFA statement was issued after another Filipino, who was convicted for drug trafficking in China, has been scheduled for execution on Dec. 8, after the Supreme People's Court (SPC) in Beijing affirmed his death sentence.

"We would like to stress that vigilance is the first major step in combating the modus operandi of international drug traffickers. We urge all our citizens to be on alert at all times in order not to be victimized by drug syndicates," the DFA said.

"We hope and appeal to the members of the media to continue helping the Government in its campaign to fight drug trafficking,"the DFA said.

The DFA said the Filipino, who was not named but was described as 35 years old, was convicted for smuggling 1.495 kilos of heroin in Guangxi, China.

"He was apprehended on 13 September 2008 at the Guilin International Airport, from Malaysia, after authorities found the heroin in his possession," the DFA said.

The DFA said the Filipino's family has been informed of the decision of the SPC and arrangements are now being made for them to leave for China soonest to visit their family member.

The DFA said the Philippines respects Chinese law and the verdict of the Supreme People's Court on the case.

"The Philippine Government itself has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, and is closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies in China and in other countries on efforts against drug trafficking," the DFA said.

Of the drug trafficking cases of Filipinos in China, this was the highest court's last death penalty conviction without reprieve.

Originally, there were six death penalty convictions without reprieves in China, the DFA said.

Three of these convictions were affirmed by China's highest court: Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain. The three Filipinos were executed in March this year.

However, the penalties of the other two Filipinos were lowered by the high court from death penalty without reprieve to death penalty with two-year reprieve.

The DFA conveyed, "its sadness at this turn of events."

According to the DFA, the High People's Court (HPC) of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region informed the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou about the SPC's decision on Monday.

The DFA said the Philippine government had provided the Filipino national all possible assistance and ensured that his legal rights were observed. The Filipino national was represented by a legal counsel at all levels of proceedings before the Intermediate People's Court and the HPC.

"The Philippine Government has made sustained and exhaustive representations and appeals with the Chinese Government at all levels to seek mitigated sentences for all Filipinos on death penalty," the DFA said.

Officials from the Philippine Consulate in Guangzhou made continuous representations with the HPC of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with the Foreign Affairs Office (FAO) of Guangxi, and with the Public Security Bureau to convey concerns regarding the Filipino national.

Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco Benedicto also made representations with a top official of the SPC to convey the Philippine government's appeal to commute the death sentence without reprieve of the Filipino national to life imprisonment.

Even President Benigno Aquino III sent a letter of appeal to Chinese President Hu Jintao, requesting commutation of his death penalty to life imprisonment.

DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario also made representations with the Chinese Ambassador to convey the appeal of the Philippine Government for a mitigated sentence for the Filipino national's case. (PNA) RMA/FPV

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