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DFA: Drug convict to be executed in China not an OFW

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday the 35-year-old Filipino drug convict who is scheduled to be executed in China on December 8 is not a legitimate overseas Filipino worker (OFW). In a press conference at the Philippine Information Agency’s office in Quezon City, DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said the Filipino who was arrested in 2008 for carrying 1.495 kilos of heroin to China, “is not an OFW in the strict sense of the word.”   “He went to Macau as a tourist, and [also to] Malaysia. He did not have a contract that went through POEA,” he said.   Hernandez said the convict's siblings do not know what their brother does for a living but that he traveled to Macau several times. What to expect on execution day He also said the Filipino still does not know that he has been scheduled for execution on Thursday.   “Hindi po alam ng nahatulan. Malalaman lang tomorrow during the visitation [and it will be] affirmed during the promulgation,” he said. Hernandez told reporters that the Filipino and his siblings would be given a chance to meet at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.   The siblings would be given around 40 minutes to an hour for the visit, Hernandez said, before the promulgation of the Filipino’s sentence at the Guilin Municipal Intermediate People’s Court.   The 35-year-old will then be brought to Liuzhou County, about two hours away from the court, where he will be executed through lethal injection. Last case of execution for now Hernandez said the drug convict is so far the last Filipino scheduled to be executed in China.   “For now ito ang pinakahuling kaso [ng execution], unless may mahatulan from the pending cases,” Hernandez said.   The DFA spokesman disclosed that there are 208 drug-related cases involving Filipinos, which include:
  • 70 sentenced to death penalty with two-year reprieve;
  • 45 cases of life imprisonment;
  • 80 with fixed term imprisonment; and
  • 12 other cases being heard in lower courts.
  He said these drug-related incidents peaked in 2008 and 2009, but saw a decline “maybe because of the execution of three Filipinos in March.” Appeal   While the government said it respects China’s decision, Hernandez said the government is “still hoping and praying” for the commutation of the sentence despite the fact that China said it will be unable to receive Vice President Jejomar Binay, who was tasked to appeal for the Filipino.   On Tuesday morning, Binay went to the Chinese Embassy in Makati City to personally deliver the letter of President Benigno Aquino III to Premiere Hu Jin Tao, asking to lower the sentence “on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”   Aquino, meanwhile, hinted that the chances for commutation may be slim, noting that “we were not able to secure a commutation for those [who] were executed previously.” ”I’m still awaiting a reply from the letter that I sent to [Chinese] President Hu Jintao, but I will have to be realistic given the time that we did appeal to them,” he said. - VVP, GMA News