The mysterious lure of easy moneyBy Susan K
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A Filipina was sentenced to death recently for transporting illegal drugs to Vietnam. Amodia Teresa Palacio is just one of several Filipinas today who are facing the death penalty overseas because of drug smuggling.
Palacio was convicted of trying to smuggle in five kilos of “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) through the Hanoi airport.
The government continues to appeal to countries where Filipinos are facing death penalties for the commutation of their sentence to life imprisonment.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, Presidential Adviser for Overseas Filipino Workers Concerns, said the Philippine Embassy in Hanoi is providing legal assistance to Palacio.
But he cautioned all Filipinos against becoming drug mules.
“Sampung beses po kayo mag-isip sa pagdala ng bawal na gamot. Hindi po sila nagbibiro diyan sa mga batas nila [sa ibang bansa] at ilang gramo lang ay maaaring mahatulan [kayo] ng kamatayan. Mag-ingat po kayo,” (Think 10 times before you agree to carry illegal drugs. The laws in other countries are no joke; just a few grams can get you the penalty of death. Beware, he said.
Many of these “brave” women leave the country as tourists and travel back and forth as drug couriers.
One Filipina bound bound for China passed through Macau. As a first timer, she was very uncomfortable, she perspired a lot and looked troubled and worried while waiting in the immigration line that authorities pulled her aside and interrogated. She eventually told immigration police that she had swallowed 50 heroin pills in exchange of $1,000 USD.
She was immediately rushed to a hospital in Macau and underwent an operation to get the heroin pills out of her body.
According to a cardiologist, Dr. Ernie Baello, swallowing those pills was very dangerous because the heroin might burst out of the capsules and poison the body.
Until now, that Filipina is in jail in Macau.
Fortunately, she did not make it to China where the death penalty is imposed on drug traffickers. They are not giving pardons to anyone there, no matter what nationality. In Macau, there is no death penalty but she will serve a long jail term.
Filipinas are said to be marked in countries that are common drug transit points. If suspicions are raised, Filipinas have a hard time passing through.
Some drug mules have pretended to be pregnant, thinking they would be given consideration and would not be checked thoroughly. Others wear costumes of nuns but these are no longer secret to authorities.
Quite a number claim to have been duped by their boyfriends.
One pretty Filipina met her boyfriend through the Internet. She was invited by the guy to travel to Malaysia. Her boyfriend sent her a plane ticket, designer clothes, shoes and bags which she would use for travelling.
When she arrived in Malaysia, she was encouraged by the guy to bring a gift for his friend in China. It was already placed inside a box and just like before, the guy again bought her expensive personal stuff.
She was very excited to go to China. She said she was shocked when she was caught by the police because drugs were found inside her baggage.
Another Filipina had the same story. She was executed in China.
A kind of intoxication?
Why, we wonder, do our kababayan still fall for this trap—especially our women, who seem to fear nothing?
Psychotherapist Dr. Randy Dellosa believes these drug mules don’t fear being caught but instead have a distinctive feeling (like a high) that they can can get away with it. The tendency is to assume this task as a challenge. They agree to bring more and more quantities of illegal drugs. They don’t even think of the possibility that they will get caught. They want to do the job and earn a lot in a short time—and are even happy while doing it.
Our overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) do not want to be associated with the drug mules.
Susan Andes, aka Susan K. is on board at Radyo Inquirer 990 dzIQ AM, Monday to Friday 12:30-2:00 p.m. with audio/video live streaming: www.dziq.am Hotlines: 5357209/8819423/0920-968-4700 E-mail: susank firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com BANTAY OCW
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