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The Filipino who was convicted on drug trafficking charges has been executed in China, Vice President Jejomar Binay said on Thursday.
Binay, who is also presidential adviser on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) concerns, said that the 35-year-old Filipino was executed via lethal injection at 12:30 p.m. in Liuzhou County, Guangzi.
The Filipino's identity has been withheld on the request of his family.
"Di kagandahan [ang araw na ito kasi] kasi natuloy na rin ho yung execution. Kaninang 12:30 [p.m.] po mga kababayan inexecute po yung ating kabababayan," said during a video conference with reporters in Pasay City.
Binay is currently in Bali, Indonesia to represent President Benigno Aquino III in a democracy forum.
He said that based on information reaching him, the Filipino was visited by his family in jail at 8:00 a.m., heard the Guilin Municipal Intermediate People’s Court's decision at 9:25 a.m. and left for the execution venue in Liuzhou at 10:15 a.m. Binay said the trip took around two hours.
"Ang subject (the convict) po was very calm. Walang sinama kahit embassy officials, pati family, naiwan. Nakakalungkot, nag-iiyak ‘yung pamilya. Pero nabigyan naman po ng last rites, last communion," he said.
The grieving neighbors of the Filipino drug convict who was executed in China on Thursday could not believe what happened to him because he was a former Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) chairman. The neighbors said they did not suspect the 35-year-old Filipino, who was executed by lethal injection, to be involved in drug smuggling. They thought that the drug convict was a "medical assistant." They described him as "good and helpful" especially to those who were sick and needed help in paying their hospital bills. Continue reading here.
Binay said the priest, only identified as Fr. Emil, gave the Filipino the final communion.
Binay added that officials of the Philippine consulate in China will return to the Guilin court to obtain the documents needed for the release of the Filipino's body.
"Inaasahan po na sa araw na ito makikita po ng pamilya yung kanilang kapatid," he said.
He said that they don't know yet the plans of the family but that the remains of the Filipino may be repatriated either on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. He said the government will pay for the repatriation of the remains.
Binay noted, however, that they cannot give the convict's family any benefits or financial assistance.
"Ang malungkot pong parte dito eh hindi ho siya miyembro ng OWWA (Overseas Workers Welfare Administration)," he said.
Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez had also earlier noted that the said Filipino was not an OFW and that he had entered the Chinese territories as a tourist.
He said the Filipino was arrested in 2008 for carrying 1.495 kilos of heroin to China.
Difficult to accept
Meanwhile, the executed Filipino’s family said they find it hard to accept what has happened to him.
In her report, GMA News’ Victoria Tulad described the family’s reaction as “nanlumo at nawalan ng loob.”
They disclosed that they still have not decided on their next step but expressed their wish to have the remains repatriated in the soonest time.
They added that they do not know how to tell the Filipino’s mother about the execution.
The family had requested the government and the media not to reveal the convict’s identity and place of origin because his mother had suffered a heart attack.
The execution was made even after 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 the Chinese government to lower the sentence “on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”
In a statement released on Thursday, Senate foreign affairs committee chair Sen. Loren Legarda said China's enforcement of its laws "is within its rights."
“We trust that the administration of its laws is fair and just. The execution of drug mules is not a political issue and should not affect our relations with [China]," she said.
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 spokesman disclosed that there are 208 drug-related cases involving Filipinos. These 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 the drug-related incidents peaked in 2008 and 2009. In recent months, he said there was a decline in the incidents “maybe because of the execution of three Filipinos in March.” — with Rose-An Jessica Dioquino, VVP/YA, GMA News