PHL gov't respects Chinese law and Supreme People’s Court verdict in imposing death penalty on a Filipino national

November 30, 2011 10:55 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 30 — The Philippines respects the Chinese law and the verdict of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) which affirmed a lower court's ruling on the imposition of the death penalty on a Filipino national in connection with a drug trafficking case.

"We have exhausted all legal efforts. The President also wrote a letter to President Hu Jintao. Secretary (Albert) Del Rosario also appealed and made representations before the Chinese Ambassador here," Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday.

"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," Lacierda said, quoting a statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

The DFA said the High People's Court (HPC) of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region informed the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou on November 28 that the Supreme People's Court (SPC) in Beijing affirmed the lower court's decision imposing the death penalty on a Filipino national who was convicted of drug trafficking. The death penalty will be carried out on December 8.

"We 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 said.

The Philippine government stressed that vigilance is the first major step in combating the modus operandi of international drug traffickers.

"We urge all our citizens to be on the alert at all times in order not to be victimized by drug syndicates. We hope and appeal to the members of the media to continue helping the government in its campaign to fight drug trafficking," the DFA averred.

Reports said the Filipino national, 35, was convicted for smuggling 1.495 kilos of heroin in Guangxi. He came from Malaysia when he was apprehended on September 13, 2008 at the Guilin International Airport for possession of heroin.

The DFA said the Philippine government provided the Filipino national all necessary and possible assistance and ensured that his legal rights were observed from the time of his arrest and throughout the judicial process.

President Benigno S. Aquino III has sent a letter of appeal to Chinese President Hu Jintao requesting commutation of his death penalty to life imprisonment. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert F. del Rosario has 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.

The Filipino national was represented by a legal counsel at all levels of proceedings before the Intermediate People's Court and the HPC, according to the DFA.

"This is the last death penalty conviction, without reprieve, which concerns drug trafficking in China's highest court. Originally, there were six death penalty convictions without reprieves. Three of these convictions were eventually affirmed by China's highest court, namely those of Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain. The penalties of the other two of the six convictions were lowered by the high court from death penalty without reprieve to death penalty with two-year reprieve," the DFA said. (PNA)

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