China executes Filipina drug mule
MANILA, Philippines – China has put to death a Filipina found guilty of heroin smuggling in 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that our fellow Filipino was executed in China this morning.” DFA spokesman assistant secretary Raul Hernandez told reporters in a briefing.
“The DFA would like to express its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the Filipino as they mourn the loss of their loved one. We certainly do not want other Filipino families to go through the same experience,” he said.
The death sentence was carried out despite an appeal from Philippine president Benigno Aquino III to have her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.
“Arrangements for the repatriation of remains are being undertaken, we hope you would understand that we will not be able to provide other details in deference to the family’s request for privacy,” Hernandez said.
The woman, a mother of two from Metro Manila, was arrested in January 2011 for carrying into China more than six kilos of heroin.
She was arrested with her cousin, also busted for carrying roughly the same amount of drugs, but the latter was given a two-year reprieve from his death sentence to enable him to reform and qualify for commutation of his sentence to life.
Hernandez stated previously that Chinese authorities have evidence which indicate the Filipina had smuggled illegal drugs at least 18 times into the country.
“We renew our call on our countrymen to avoid involvement with drug syndicates. Drug trafficking is a criminal act in the Philippines and all over the world. The life of [every] Filipino is valuable, and we pray this is the last time that a tragedy like this befalls any of our countrymen,” Hernandez said.
Vice-president Jejomar Binay was previously set to travel to Beijing to personally deliver Aquino’s letter of appeal 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 family 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 Monday. 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.
The death sentence was handed down by China Supreme People’s Court last June 26 upholding the decision of a lower court.
Philippine Consul General in Shanghai Charles Jose had received the note verbale about the death sentence on June 27.
It stated that the execution would be carried out within seven days of the receipt of the note verbale. The deadline ended on July 3, Wednesday.
The latest execution comes amid already rocky relations between the two countries, soured by overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte also extended the government’s sympathies to the woman’s family.
“However unfortunate, 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 (drug) syndicates,” she said in a statement.
About a tenth of the Philippines’ 100 million people work abroad, many of them under harsh conditions. Drug traffickers sometimes exploit them into becoming drug mules.
A total of 213 other Filipinos are in China jails on drugs offenses, the foreign department said.
Some 28 of them — apart from the woman executed Wednesday — have already been sentenced to death but have been granted two-year reprieves, it said.
The mainly Catholic Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006, and the 2011 executions of the four Filipino drug smugglers were met with widespread condemnation. With a report from AFP
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