Government appeals for 3 Filipino drug convicts in China-A A +A
By Jill Beltran
Friday, March 25, 2011
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Friday said the government is still trying to make a final effort to save the lives of three Filipinos on death row in China.
But, at the same time, he admitted that there is a limit to what the government can do because the crime happened in a different country.
"There’s a limit to actually what we can do and we are still trying to get them (China) to reduce the penalty. We don’t have the death penalty (in the Philippines),” he said in an interview after the 28th Biennial Convention of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. at SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia.
While communication between Manila and China continues, the Philippines should nevertheless "respect the laws of other lands," he said.
Aquino also noted that three Filipinos' admission of their crimes did not help in their cases.
“It doesn’t help that part of the testimony also when they admitted that they were doing something illegal. They didn’t just know...what they were smuggling then,” he said.
The President did not confirm if Vice President Jejomar Binay will be going back to China. Binay earlier said that he is not giving up for the three Filipinos and that he will send a letter to China.
Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao, meanwhile, appealed for the Filipino people to understand the decision of China.
Ramon Credo, 42; Elizabeth Batain, 38; and Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32 are set to be executed through lethal injection on March 30.
The death penalty of Credo and Villanueva will be carried out in Xiamen while Batain will be executed in Shenzhen.
The executions were originally scheduled last February 20 and 21 but were put on hold after Vice President Binay appealed to Chinese authorities in February.
The court convicted Ordinario-Villanueva for smuggling 4,110 grams of heroin on December 24, 2008 into Xiamen, while Credo was convicted for smuggling 4,113 grams of heroin on December 28, 2008 in Xiamen. Batain, meanwhile, was convicted for smuggling 6,800 grams of heroin on May 24, 2008, in Shenzhen.
Smuggling of 50 grams of heroin or any narcotic drug into China is punishable by death under the Chinese criminal code.
Migrants group to hold prayer vigil
In a related development, migrants workers group Migrante International will hold a prayer vigil and candle lighting at 5 p.m. on Friday at the Quiapo Church and Plaza Miranda in Manila to express their sympathy for the three OFWs and to call on the government to save their lives.
Similar activities will be held on Saturday, March 26 and at March 27, Sunday at the St. Peter’s Church, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City and at Baclaran Church in Parañaque.
A 5 p.m. noise barrage on March 26 will also be held at Bagong Barrio in Caloocan City, while a human chain to be made up of families of OFW will take place at Luneta Park in Manila.
On March, 28, Monday, families of OFWs and their supporters will stage a protest action in front of the DFA office along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City, while a similar gathering will take place on March 30 at Plaza Miranda in Manila. (with AH/Sunnex)