CHINA TO EXECUTE PINAY IN DRUG MULE TRAFFICKING / NO AID FROM OWWA
MANILA, July 1, 2013 (PHILSTAR) By Pia Lee-Brago - A Filipina is scheduled to be executed in China next week for drug trafficking, sources disclosed yesterday.
Embassy sources told The STAR that the decision to execute the Filipina was handed down this week.
The Filipina, who entered Shanghai as a tourist, was sentenced to death without reprieve in 2012.
She was one of two Filipinos – the other a male – arrested in a province near Shanghai in January 2011. They were caught with 12.369 kilos of high-grade heroin.
Under the Chinese criminal code, bringing 50 grams of heroin or any narcotic drug into the country is punishable by death.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reiterated its appeal to all Filipinos to avoid accepting offers from individuals or groups to carry illegal drugs in their luggage or in their person when going abroad in exchange for money, as harsh penalties await them at their destinations.
The Philippine government has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, and is closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies in other countries on efforts against drug trafficking.
It is undertaking comprehensive and proactive measures to address the drug mules issue and to prevent the further victimization of Filipinos by international drug syndicates.
A 35-year old Filipino sentenced to death for drug trafficking was executed on Dec. 8, 2011 in China through lethal injection despite an appeal from President Aquino for a commutation of sentence to life imprisonment.
The executed Filipino was convicted for smuggling of 1.495 kilos of heroin to Guangxi.
China reminded the Philippines that it is a country under the rule of law and the Chinese judicial authority has passed the death sentence in accordance with law.
China carried out on March 30, 2011 the death sentence on three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking. Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain were executed by lethal injection.
No OWWA aid for Pinay drug mule in China (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 29, 2013 - 12:00am
[PHOTO COURTESY OF SUN STAR ONLINE
MANILA, Philippines - The convicted Filipina drug trafficker in China is not likely to get legal assistance from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
OWWA chief Carmelita Dimzon said the case of the Filipina who will be executed not later than July 2 is beyond the jurisdiction of the agency because she is not an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) or a member of the agency.
OWWA rules allow legal and other assistance only to members of the agency, Dimzon said.
“OWWA provides plane ticket if the worker does not have a recruitment agency, but if the worker is not documented it’s the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) that handles all their needs,” Dimzon pointed out.
“Under the law, the legal assistance shall be provided by the government through the DFA, which has fund for legal assistance to Filipinos,” Dimzon explained.
Malacañang had expressed its intention to appeal to Chinese authorities for the commutation of death sentence on the still unnamed Filipina drug courier.
Vice President Jejomar Binay will leave for Beijing on Sunday or Monday to personally present to Chinese President Xi Jinping a letter of appeal from President Aquino seeking a stay of execution of the Filipina drug courier.
“I will be personally handing over President Aquino’s letter of appeal. I cannot speculate. There are still many factors. This is not the first time that I’m doing this. So let us just see and let us just continue praying,” said Binay, who is also presidential adviser on OFW concerns.
Binay said the government has the responsibility to try and save fellow Filipinos abroad.
China’s highest court upheld last June 26 the death sentence on the 33-year-old Filipina for drug trafficking.
The woman and her male cousin were arrested in Hangzhou on Jan. 25, 2011 for trying to smuggle 13 kilos of heroin.
Only the woman convict is up for execution on July 2; her male companion was given a two-year reprieve on his death sentence due to good behavior.
The woman was reportedly not given reprieve because of her being uncooperative with investigators and for constantly questioning the court’s jurisdiction over her case.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III called on concerned government agencies yesterday to continue a vigorous campaign against drug traffickers.
He also warned the public regarding the modus operandi of drug syndicates who use Filipinos as drug couriers abroad.
After saying that the government should simply let China carry out the execution of the Filipina convict, Sotto said there should be no letup in the campaign to prevent potential victims from being recruited by the drug cartels.
Sotto also urged drug enforcers to arrest perpetrators and destroy these cartels, who may be recruiting in the country.
A former Dangerous Drugs Board chairman, Sotto reminded the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police’s Anti-Drug Special Operations Task Force, and DDB to continue warning the public about the drug syndicate’s modus operandi. He said the DFA and OWWA should also take part in reminding all OFWs. Sotto lamented that those who engage in drug activities are giving legitimate OFWs a bad reputation.
The PDEA also renewed its warning to OFWs and other travelers to stay away from drug smuggling syndicates.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Arturo Cacdac Jr. expressed concern over the increasing number of Filipinos who – wittingly or unwittingly – are enticed by international drug syndicates to become couriers.
“It is unwise for our countrymen to risk their life and future to bring dangerous drugs to a certain country in exchange for any amount of money. However, there are still those who willfully allow themselves to be utilized as drug couriers despite repeated warnings by PDEA and other government agencies,” Cacdac said. Sen. Loren Legarda said the government should pursue all peaceful means to spare the life of the convicted Filipina drug courier in China.
“We must exhaust all measures available in order to spare the life of a fellow Filipino,” said Legarda, chair of the Senate committee of foreign relations during the 15th Congress.
An official of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday appealed to priests to include in their prayers the Filipina scheduled to be executed in China for drug trafficking.
In an interview over the Church-run Radio Veritas, CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros said that he was saddened by reports that a Filipina drug courier would be executed.
Corros asked the parish priests to include the 35-year-old Filipina in their prayers. “I am appealing to all priests to offer prayers until Sunday so that the execution would not push through.”
But while he remains hopeful that the woman would be spared from execution, he could not dismiss the possibility that the appeal of the Philippine government would not be granted by the Chinese government because the relationship between the two countries is “not stable.”
The Philippines and China are engaged in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea. With Christina Mendez, Reinir Padua, Evelyn Macairan, Jose Rodel Clapano
Noy writes to China: Spare Pinay from death row By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated June 27, 2013 - 2:28pm
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday confirmed that a Filipina convicted for drug trafficking will be sentenced to death any day between today, June 27 and July 2.
At a televised press conference, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said 35-year-old Filipina was convicted for smuggling 6.198 kilos of heroin in China.
She was apprehended in January 2011 after heroin was found in her luggage at an international airport.
The Filipina was arrested with a Filipino male companion carrying 6.171 kilos of heroin in his own luggage.
Hernandez said the Filipina drug mule was represented by a legal counsel at all levels of proceedings.
"The Philippine Government provided our kababayan all necessary and possible assistance and ensured that her legal rights were observed and that her welfare protected from the time of her arrest and throughout the judicial process," Hernandez said.
He said Pres. Benigno Aquino III has written a letter of appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping, requesting a commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment.
The letter will be sent within the day through the Chinese embassy in Manila and the Philippine embassy in Beijing.
Hernandez said the Filipina's family has been informed of the decision of China's Supreme People's Court (SPC).
"[T]hey request that their privacy be respected during this very difficult time. Arrangements are being made for them to depart for China at the soonest possible time, in order to visit and see their loved one," Hernandez said.
The official said the Philippine government "makes sustained representations with the Chinese Government at all levels and exhausts all legal remedies to seek mitigated sentences for Filipinos on death row."
Vice President Jejomar Binay will fly to Beijing this weekend to hand-carry President Aquino’s letter requesting his Chinese counterpart to spare the life of a convicted Filipino drug mule set to be executed in China in the next few days. FROM THE DAILY INQUIRER.
He revealed that as of June 2013, there a total of 213 drug-related cases involving Filipino nationals in China. Of this, 28 resulted to death penalty convictions with two-year reprieve, including that of the male Filipino companion of the sentenced Filipina.
Some 67 Filipinos are also in life imprisonment, 107 in term imprisonment while 10 others have cases still pending at the courts.
"The Philippines respects Chinese law and the verdict of the SPC on the case. The Philippine Government itself has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, and is closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies in China and in other countries on efforts against drug trafficking," said Hernandez.
The DFA also urged all Filipinos not to allow themselves to be involved in drug trafficking and to be extremely cautious when dealing with strangers in airports and other areas of transit.
"We call for personal vigilance and responsibility on the part of Filipinos who travel abroad," Hernandez said. with Camille Diola
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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