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Grieving neighbors say Pinoy drug convict was SK chairman

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. “Masakit, hindi namin akalain na mangyayari sa kanya ganoon,” Paning Vitangcol said.   “Mabuting bata, matulungin at naging Sangguniang Kabataan chairman dito kaya hindi namin sukat akalain na napasok sa sindikato,” Raul Reyes said.   “Mainam lagay ng batang iyan.Siyempre, malungkot dahil sa nangyari sa kanya,” Carmelita Reyes said while sewing dresses.   Others in the peaceful and simple village adjacent to the MacArthur Highway shook their heads, saying “kapalaran siguro.” Was religious and loved playing basketball A report of radio dzBB said the drug courier's friends and neighbors described him as kind, friendly, and even religious, being a member of a local choir. He was also fond of playing basketball. His friends and neighbors said the convict did not mention his foreign trips to them.   Meanwhile, the report also said the members of the courier's immediate family declined to speak to media, reiterating their request for privacy.   The courier was arrested in China in 2008 after being caught carrying 1.495 kilos of heroin.   He was sentenced to death, with China's Supreme People's Court affirming his death sentence in late November. The courier was scheduled for execution on Thursday Cremation Meanwhile, a public official close to the family said there was a plan to cremate the convict's body when it arrives from China, to lessen the impact on the bedridden mother who might be shocked to see her son's coffin. He said the mother became sick after learning that his youngest son among five children was jailed in China in 2008.   The mother, he said, was always staring at their main door, hoping to see her son come into the house.   The official said the wake will be held at the house of an uncle of the drug convict and that security measures are already in place.   Those who came to see him before he was executed in China were two sisters and a first cousin of his wife.    A Holy Hour was held in the church of the parish where the victim resided. Prayers were also made in all Masses in the diocese last Sunday. - RJMD/VVP, GMA News