BACOLOD

Escudero urges more prisoner-exchange treaties

MANILA -- Senator Francis Escudero wants the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to initiate Transfer of Sentenced Persons Agreements
(TSPAs) with other countries even as diplomats iron out a prisoner-exchange treaty with China.

The DFA said Tuesday that it has been negotiating a TSPA with China since September 2010.

In a statement, the agency said China's Ministry of Justice welcomed the proposal.

But Escudero said similar deals must be put in place in other countries where Filipino migrant workers are deployed.

"Let us not leave our fellow Filipinos without the benefit of rights and dignities upheld. If they must pay for their crimes, let them pay for it but let us bring them closer to their families and loved ones," he said.

Under a TSPA, prisoners can appeal to be repatriated and serve their sentences in their own country.

At present, the Philippines has TSPAs with Spain, Thailand, and Hong Kong.

Escudero proposed prisoner-exchange treaties on Monday in response to three Filipinos on death row in China for drug trafficking.

Their executions were stayed after a last-minute personal appeal by Vice President Jejomar Binay.

According to the DFA, 209 Filipinos are facing drug trafficking charges in China. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)

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