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Pinoy Abroad

Pinoy drug convict on death row in China gets 2-year reprieve

March 23, 2012 8:00am
(UPDATED 8:00 p.m.) The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Filipino who was sentenced to death in China earlier this month was given a two-year reprieve but his fellow drug convict, a Filipina, was not.

In a statement issued on Friday, the DFA said the two Filipinos were sentenced to death by the Hangzhou People’s intermediate court.

"The defendants were caught at the Hangzhou International Airport last Janauary 25, 2011 with about 12 kilograms of heroin," the DFA said.

The drug convicts entered China from Dubai via Hong Kong.

The DFA said the Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai will assist them in their appeal before a higher tribunal.

The two were given legal assistance throughout their trial. Their next of kin have also written letters of appeal that will be sent to Chinese authorities, the DFA added.

According to a radio dzBB report on Friday, the two Filipinos were sentenced last March 16.

The Philippine government on Tuesday warned Filipinos bound for China and its territories, including Hong Kong and Macau, against becoming drug mules.


Warning vs. drug trafficking
 
In a news release on the DFA website on Tuesday, the Consulate noted at least two more Filipinos were arrested in Macau for alleged drug-trafficking last February 1.
 
According to the Consulate General, the four Filipinos arrested in Hong Kong from July to November 2011 were bound for Guangzhou and Guangxi, where the penalty in case of conviction for drug smuggling is death.

Last year, four Filipino nationals were executed in mainland China — three in March and one in December.
 
"In the event of arrest, the laws and legal procedures of China will apply. Filipinos who will be arrested for drug-smuggling in China will suffer the penalties imposed by the Chinese courts," the DFA quoted the Consulate General as saying.
 
The Consulate appealed anew to Filipinos to heed the call of the Philippine government not to risk their lives for any offer of money by international drug syndicates.
 
"Indeed, the Philippine government's effort to protect its nationals abroad is a foremost concern. However, this responsibility is necessarily shared with every Filipino who should always consider their own safety while abroad," the DFA said.

Nearly 80 Pinoys on death row

Also on Tuesday, the DFA said  its diplomats are working to save 77 Filipinos on death row overseas.
 
"We are helping them out. We are making high level representations and making sure they have access to legal and consular assistance and trying to get their sentences commuted," Hernandez said.

Of those facing execution, 42 are detained in China on drugs charges, he said.

Six Filipinos face the death sentence in Malaysia, five also for drugs-related offenses, while one Filipina convicted for the same reason is detained in Indonesia.
 
There are 27 Filipinos on death row in the Middle East, most for murder, while another Filipino is facing execution for murder in the United States, said Hernandez.
 
The executions triggered widespread condemnation in the largely-Catholic Philippines  which abolished the death sentence in 2006.

— LBG/VVP, GMA News
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