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Private grieving over execution of Filipina in China

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GRIEVING FAMILY Somewhere along this dark alley lives the grieving family of the Filipino woman who was executed on Wednesday in China. Nathaniel R. Melican

MANILA, Philippines—From the main thoroughfare in Barangay (village) Sipac-Almacen in Navotas City, Nemesio L. Angeles Street is split by dark alleys that show no signs out of the ordinary.

People went about their usual ways along the street, which ends at a seawall overlooking Manila Bay. Women sold snacks from balconies, men were repairing tricycles, while teenagers played basketball at a covered court nearby.

Music blared out from a garage, with songs usually heard on Sundays on the radio, including John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” The Beatles’ “Let it Be,” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.” The last one seemed to have set the tone, as the house of the 35-year-old Filipino woman on China’s death row was eerily quiet.

The woman was executed Wednesday morning, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced.

No one answered the door. Neighbors, who were killing time on the main street, clammed up when asked about the issue.

Where is her house? “We don’t know,” a woman replied. A man was asked if he was a neighbor and if he knew the Filipino woman. “I’m from the other street,” he said.

Nameless

Eventually, after some prodding, a few talked but asked not to be indentified—like the doomed woman.

“They’re [her family] probably there, but they just don’t answer. They haven’t really opened up about the issue. Everyone here is ashamed to talk of it,” said a thickset man in a white shirt and brown shorts.

“Not really ashamed, but maybe we’re just shy to talk about it. We just don’t want to anger them when we speak. They really wanted to keep this private,” he continued.

He recalled that earlier on Wednesday, television crews interviewed a neighbor about the woman. “Her family got angry and said, ‘Why give interviews about it? Just please leave it at that.’”

The family has kept mostly to themselves in all the decades they have been living there.

 

Chocolates, secretive

“They’ve lived here for as long as we can remember. The [woman] grew up in that house and has been returning here ever since,” another man said. He noted that the woman had been to China 18 times and “already knows their (Chinese) language.”

“Call it secretive, but they did not really brag about the fact that she was there. But we just knew because they would give us chocolates as homecoming gifts,” he added.

He said the neighborhood was just as shocked to find out that the woman was arrested in China sometime in 2011. “They were really crying hard then when the news broke. And we were surprised that she was arrested, too.”

The issue died down immediately in the community, but when the DFA had announced that she was set to be executed this week, the unwanted attention was back on them.

“They went to great lengths to really keep the issue private,” a woman said. “The victim’s mother was somehow contacted by the media, but she put them off by giving the wrong address. Still, apparently, you found us, you found them.”

Even as the DFA confirmed the execution Wednesday morning, the house remained quiet. Cameramen and reporters kept on returning and calling out for someone to interview, but there was no reply. The neighbors refused interviews on-cam.

Request for privacy

“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that our fellow Filipino was executed in China this morning,” said DFA spokesma Raul Hernandez. He did not release further details in

PRIVATE GRIEF This hole in the wall leads to doomed Filipino woman’s home. Relatives have refused to talk to the media about the matter. The neighbors also chose to keep silent. Nathaniel R. Melican

deference to the family’s request for privacy.

“We reassured her (woman’s mother) that the DFA will not divulge the identity of her daughter. But we cannot withhold from the public the fact of the execution. And we believe that she understood,” Hernandez said.

Malacañang extended “sympathies and condolences” to the family.

Two days before, the woman was allowed to be with her mother and son for 30 minutes at Zhejiang Detention Center in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China. She had one other child.

She was arrested at the international airport in Hangzhou in January 2011 for carrying more than 6 kilos of heroin. A male cousin was also caught carrying roughly the same quantity of the illegal drug.

The local court imposed the death penalty on both on March 16, but her cousin was given a two-year reprieve to reform and qualify for the commutation of sentence to life imprisonment.

Earlier, the DFA said evidence presented during the trial showed that the woman had led the drug-trafficking operation, bringing drugs into China 18 times from 2008 to the time of her arrest. Recruited by a Nigerian drug trafficker in 2007, the woman was known to have earned between $3,000 and $4,000 for each trip, it said.

The Philippine government provided the woman counsel throughout her trial and appeal, but that the “preponderance of evidence was so large,” the foreign office said.

An appellate court affirmed the lower court decision on Dec. 3, 2012. Subsequently, China’s Supreme People’s Court upheld the ruling on June 26 with finality.

President’s appeal

Hernandez said the woman met her fate Wednesday morning as China enforced the death penalty despite President Aquino’s appeal for a stay in the execution, citing humanitarian reasons.

Vice President Jejomar Binay had wanted to personally appeal to the Chinese government to spare the woman’s life, but the Chinese foreign ministry reportedly said it was “not a convenient time” to accommodate the official in Beijing.

The DFA said there were 213 drug-related cases involving Filipinos in China, of which 28 were death convictions but with reprieve of two years. Sixty-seven cases led to life sentences, 107 were commuted to light prison terms, while 10 are still pending in court.

Stay away from drug trade

Hernandez called on Filipinos to stay away from the international drug trade, which earlier cost the lives of Filipinos Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain. The three were executed in China in 2011 for drug trafficking despite appeals of the Philippine government.

“Drug trafficking is a criminal act in the Philippines and all over the world. The life of every Filipino is valuable and we pray that this is the last time that a tragedy like this befalls any of our countrymen,” Hernandez said.

The official earlier said the death penalty would likely be carried out through lethal injection but he did not confirm this in a press briefing late afternoon on Wednesday.

The President’s deputy spokesperson, Abigail Valte, appealed to the media “to allow the family their privacy at this difficult time.”

“We hope that this will serve as a continuing lesson to our citizens not to allow themselves to be victimized and to fall prey to these syndicates,” Valte said.

Hernandez said the repatriation of the woman’s remains was being arranged.

Her neighbors on Angeles Street were waiting for the body to be brought home, but it was the cremated remains that arrived Wednesday night.

“If they want to be private, then we will just let them be,” a woman resident said.-With a report from Michael Lim Ubac


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  • JMS

    How come the poor lady was able to sneak in drugs from Manila to Hangzhou 18 times (I assumed based on this article) since 2008 until her arrest on January 2011 for carrying more than 6 kilos of heroin? I would like to interpret this as a clear incompetence of Manila airport customs officials for missing a huge huge bulk of drugs passing through their “needle hole” security inspection. They could have saved the life of the poor lady what a big slap in the face of our country.

    • Isagani Gatmaitan

      Manila was not in her itinerary as a drug courier. This Filipina drug mule was based abroad. The other news leads detailed her network.

      • md’c™

        Which news, from China Daily or from Xianhua? Believe it or not, there is nothing that makes the chinese happy. News manufactured in those chinese dailies. How would any educated individual believed a chinese daily over their morning coffee? They kill their own people in masses, like the tienamen square, so they kill a few filipinos, those were justifications and thats the truth.

        Why would a mule would carry 6k of drugs that heavy in a luggage? To be busted? Get Real ! She maybe a carrier, but not that stupid.

        ‘No human rights countries’ are never believable. Ain’t law in lawless land.

      • 56u4puvv

        Why would a mule would carry 6k of drugs that heavy in a luggage? so what do you think that lady interested to carry that luggage, for nothing or for money…

      • md’c™

        puvv , a person with a drug experience and intelligence, will not carry drugs in a luggage to be scanned and dropped at custom security. That is nonsense.

      • 56u4puvv

        There are sophisticated ways to hide drugs but there are also systhematic ways to detect drugs. If detector could not find any, a pyschological approached applied. Got me! If you cant i can tell how..

      • md’c™

        It did not say in the news she hid it at all. So, its just there for anybody to see.

        And I know exactly what you are saying and methods used and the diff pre-911. Having gone thousand times thru us customs is not exactly zipping through even for us citizens like us.

      • 56u4puvv

        A drug mules is like postman, wherein the stuff is already pre arranged systhematically inside the luggage before moving out Undetected? the routing system of drug syndicate was altered to inter transit connection. Meaning the stuff and drug mules will meet in other counrty then it will transit to other counrty. Bakit sya natimbog, as what ive said. Logic..

  • Ozamis7

    Shut the f##ck up…you yellow zumbies…

  • JuanMasipag

    you are one sad pathetic creature. i pity you

  • Punyëtero»Ka

    You f*ckng yellow bellied bast*rd jumps at every chance to insult non-chink people. Though I have no sympathy for drug mules, your all-caps intsik -mouth spews your sh*t & fouls everything. I’ll be glad to be your executioner anytime!

  • Commentator

    umm…do i need to remind you that you are a CHINESE.

    do you think people around the world thinks highly of your race?

    dont embrass the chinese race, STFU.

  • md’c™

    The jåckåss is a chinx and a skunky unbathed unabatheable chimp. Watch out. Dont even look at his posts. I already filtered all about this chimp and all others.

  • Vertumnus

    Someday some MALAY BROWN AZZ MONKEY will find you and put a bullet through your head! Execution, Malay style!

  • Laddy

    If you were smart enough your would realise the guy above is not a ChinK. But your not too smart meh

  • PunyëteroKa

    jseesus is not a chink? That guy has been badmouthing Flips everytime something comes up regarding China & the PH since the time of Moses, & are you one too to defend him? Check on his previous posts and what does the “meh” mean?
    Bleating of a goat? You his comrade in the 50c unit? you a syeet-eater too?

  • Laddy

    50ct unit? whats 50ct units. But hey i love telling off bad mouth FLIPS.

  • PunyëteroKa

    50c unit is the name of the chink hacking group to counter all negative comments against the PRC. Prominent members goes by the name of Kaizensigma, PurpleDaisy13, reddfrog this SOB jseesus plus a host of others(are you one of them in a different name?). BTW, I’m no Flip, but have great friends & lived there so as the Ayrabs sez, the enemy of my friend is my enemy. Come on, I’ll take you on too if you want!

  • PunyëteroKa

    Just got around to glimpse at your past comments in Disqus claiming to be an American like me. Nah!! you’re part of this unit too aren’t you? Think your mom carried you in her tonsils instead of her arse, that’s why you think you’re the part of the 2% racist mothaf*ckers who think they run our country!!



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