Death sentences on 3 Filipinos in China to be promulgated

THE Department of Foreign Affairs said  the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in Beijing has reviewed and rendered its decision on five cases of Filipinos sentenced to death by courts in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong for drug trafficking.

After a thorough and serious review process, the SPC sustained the lower courts’ decisions, and the death sentences to the three will be carried out in accordance to Chinese law, the DFA said.

Two of the five Filipinos earlier meted the death penalty without reprieve were given two-year reprieves.

The DFA identified the three Filipino nationals as:

1.    A male, 42 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 4,113 grams of heroin on 28 December 2008, in Xiamen;

2.    A female, 32 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 4,110 grams of heroin on 24 December 2008, in Xiamen;

3.    A female, 38 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 6,800 grams of heroin on 24 May 2008, in Shenzhen.

Foreign  affairs official said the Philippine Government has made sustained and exhaustive representations with the Chinese Government at all levels to seek mitigated sentences for all Filipinos on death penalty.

Earlier, 72 cases were granted two-year reprieves.  Under Chinese law, the original verdict may be commuted to life imprisonment if the prisoner displays good behavior while incarcerated.

Under Chinese law, smuggling of 50 grams or more of heroin or equivalent drugs is punishable with the death penalty.

The Philippine Government provided the three Filipinos all necessary and possible assistance and has ensured that their legal rights were observed and their welfare protected from the time of their arrest and throughout the judicial process.

The families of the three have been informed of the SPC decision.

The DFA conveys its grave disappointment and sadness at this turn of events.

There is no imposition of capital punishment under Philippine law. Representations are ongoing for possible commutation of the three death sentences.

The DFA  claimed that it has closely coordinated with other concerned agencies and constantly update the Office of the President on these drug trafficking cases.

The Philippine Government has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, and is closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies in other countries on efforts against anti-drugs trafficking.

The DFA called on all Filipinos not to be victimized by international drug syndicates. –D’Jay Lazaro

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