Foreign office seeks prayers for Filipino condemned to death in China
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Wednesday exhorted Filipinos to pray for a “miracle” for a Filipino who is scheduled to be executed Thursday in China on drug trafficking charges.
The Chinese authorities have declared that the death verdict on the Filipino was final and executory, and have rejected last-minute appeals by the Philippine officials for a commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment.
“We are still hoping; we are still praying. The whole government, the whole nation is one with the family in praying that a miracle will happen; that a change of mind would take place so the death sentence will be commuted to life sentence. That is our prayer and hope. And I hope the whole Filipino nation would join us in the prayer at this time of the need of our kababayan [compatriot],” Assistant Foreign Secretary Raul Hernandez said in a forum at the Philippine Information Agency.
Between now and the execution on Thursday, Hernandez said, the government was “praying and hoping” that Chinese authorities would commute the sentence on humanitarian grounds, but conceded that China has never done that in the past.
“It could still happen that the Chinese side could reverse its decision and allow for a commutation of the sentence. Let there be hope in us until that time comes,” he said.
The Filipino convict was scheduled to meet with his siblings at around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, and this will last for 40 minutes to an hour, Hernandez said. After the visit, the sentence will be read out to the convict at the Guilin Municipal Intermediate People’s Court in Guangzxi Zhuang autonomous region, he added.
The condemned man will then be taken to Liu Zhou County, two hours away, where the execution by lethal injection is scheduled “if at all it will be affirmed,” Hernandez said.