Palace has 'exhausted all efforts' in Filipino drug mule's case-A A +A
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
MALACAÑANG on Wednesday said it has "exhausted all efforts" in dissuading China from imposing the death penalty on a 35-year-old Filipino convicted of drug-trafficking.
"We have exhausted all legal efforts but the sentence would still be carried out on December 8," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said, adding that the Chinese court remains firm in its decision.
The Filipino national was convicted for smuggling 1.495 kilos of heroin in Guangxi, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. He was arrested on September 13, 2008 at the Guilin International Airport. On November 28, the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing affirmed a lower’s court’s decision to impose the death penalty on him.
In an attempt to save the Filipino national, Lacierda said President Benigno Aquino III has sent a letter of appeal to Chinese President Hu Jintao requesting commutation of the death penalty to life imprisonment.
He added that Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario has also made representations with the Chinese Ambassador to convey the appeal of the Philippine government for a mitigated sentence.
Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco Benedicto also conveyed the government's appeal to a top official of the Chinese Supreme People’s Court (SPC) to no avail.
Despite the sentence, Lacierda believed that the relations between China and the Philippines will not be affected.
"We recognize the decision of the judicial authorities in China. It was made based on the evidence that the Filipino national was carrying (1.495) kilos of heroin and, therefore, based on their law, it was subject to the death penalty. Again, it was done in compliance with their legal processes, we respect that, and I believe that in the same manner that the three Filipinos were previously been executed this should not cause a hiccup in Filipino-Chinese relations," he said.
This is the last death penalty conviction, without reprieve, involving drug trafficking in China’s highest court. Of the six convicts who were sentenced to death last March, only three -- Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain -- were executed.
The DFA said the family of the Filipino national has already been informed of the SPC's decision. They will be flown to China to visit and see their loved one.
For its part, members of the convict's family said that they were "devastated by these developments."
"It is a very difficult time for us and we are trying our best, through prayers, to cope with the situation. We urge our countrymen to pray with our family," the DFA said in a statement, quoting the family members.
They also asked the media to refrain from contacting any of them.
Meanwhile, the government reiterated its appeal to all Filipinos to refuse to act as drug couriers by drug syndicates.
“We appeal to all Filipinos, especially 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. 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.
The agency also appealed to the media to continue helping the government in its campaign against drug trafficking. (Jill Beltran/AMN/Sunnex)