Pattaya Daily News

01 April 2011 :: 09:04:59 am 52370

China Executes Three Filipinos For Drug Trafficking

BEIJING, China – Three Filipinos were executed by lethal injection on Wednesday after being convicted of smuggling heroin to China
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42-year-old Ramon Credo and 33-year-old Sally Villanueva were executed in the southern city of Xiamen while Elizabeth Batain, aged 38, was put to death the same day in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong. They were arrested separately in 2008.

According to authorities, Credo and Ordinario were each carrying at least four kilograms of heroin, while Batain was arrested with almost seven kilograms to China.

After receiving news of the executions, Philippine presidential spokesman, Edwin Lacierda, expressed sympathy to the families of the three, “Their deaths are a vivid lesson in the tragic toll the drug trade takes on entire families.”

He said the government will act strongly to combat drug syndicates, “We are resolved to ensure that the chain of victimization, as pushers entrap and destroy lives in pursuit of their trade, will be broken.”

In days leading up to the executions, prayer vigils and special masses were organized in Manila and other cities in hope of a “miracle” to spare the lives of three convicts.

Ramon Tulfo, a prominent multi-media commentator in Manila, shared his view, “We have a lot of things to cry over, so let’s not waste our tears on three convicted criminals who brought shame to our country,”

Tulfo wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “If we continue to plead for (their lives), we might give the impression that our country is a haven of drug mules. Let’s allow the Chinese people to carry out their harsh anti-drug trafficking law, as we would expect them to carry out ours in case Chinese (are) caught trying to smuggle drugs into our country.

The three Filipinos were scheduled for execution on 20th February but China decided to postpone the executions when Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay travelled to Beijing to plead on their behalf.

During his visit to Beijing, Vice President Binay told reporters that there was no under-the-table deal with China.

“We do not condone drug trafficking and we respect China’s laws. However, we believe these Filipinos were merely victims of trans-national drug syndicates. They were just duped into their crimes.” Binay said.

In early March, Liu Jianchao, Chinese ambassador to the Philippines, told Philippine reporters in Manila that the court’s decisions were final and the executions would take place sooner or later. Last week, the executions were set for March 30.

Days before the executions, Philippine officials made the final attempt and asked to spare the three Filipinos. President Benigno Aquino Jr. wrote his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao to ask for clemency.

Under Chinese laws, trafficking of 50 grams or more of drugs is punished with long prison terms. Those convicted of smuggling larger amounts receive life sentences or death.

The death penalty is usually imposed by local courts and subject to review by the Supreme People’s Court, which makes final judgment.

In recent years, China has also executed drug traffickers from Britain, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan.

As of October 21, 2010, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in Manila, over 70 Filipinos were convicted and sentenced to death for drug trafficking in China. Only six of the cases have reached the Supreme People’s Court. Two were overturned, one is still under review and three were affirmed and carried out on Wednesday.

The Filipino diplomats, who interviewed the convicts, said that the accused were “drug mules” recruited by trans-national drug syndicates to act as couriers.

Philippine officials said that these convicts are often promised “courier fees” which vary from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

“This happens to many Filipinos who are desperate to get quick money or a job overseas,” one of the diplomats commented,

“It’s ‘kapit sa patalim’ – desperate people grabbing at knives.”

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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