MANILA, Philippines – The execution of a Filipina who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in China was “very imminent,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Tuesday.
“We have not yet received any specific date or time of the execution, but it seems it is very imminent,” DFA Spokesman Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters in a briefing.
“We don’t know if we will be informed before or right after [the execution]; there were cases that we were informed before and there were cases where it happened right after the visit of the family of the accused,” he said.
The death sentence was handed down by China’s Supreme People’s Court last June 26 upholding the decision of a lower court.
Philippine Consul General Charles Jose had received the note verbale about the execution on June 27. It stated that the execution might be carried out within seven days of the receipt of the note verbale. The deadline ends on July 3, Wednesday.
The Filipina, along with her cousin, were arrested at the Hangzhou international airport in January 2011 for trying to bring into the country six kilograms of heroin. Her cousin was likewise sentenced to death but was given a two-year reprieve for good behavior.
Hernandez stated previously that Chinese authorities have evidence which indicate the Filipina had smuggled illegal drugs at least 18 times into the country since 2008.
Vice-president Jejomar Binay was previously set to travel to Beijing to personally deliver a letter of appeal from Philippine President Benigno Aquino III to Chinese president Xi Jinping.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry however sent word that it was “not a convenient time” for Binay to come to China forcing him to cancel his trip.
The letter requested that her sentence be commuted to life imprisonment instead. The Chinese government has yet to respond to the appeal.
The relatives of the Filipina had flown to China Sunday and was able to talk for 30 minutes with her Monday, Hernandez told reporters in a briefing. That was the only time they were able to talk with her, he said.
They were also not informed of the date of execution, Hernandez said.
He said that there are 213 Filipinos that were involved in drug trafficking and drug related offenses, 28 were sentenced to death but with a two-year reprieve, 67 were given life imprisonment, 107 were given term sentences, and around 10 still have pending cases.