We told you on Sunday how a Russian woman was sentenced to death in Zhuhai for heroin smuggling. A 35-year-old Filipino man is set to join her in the gallows for the same crime — he was found carrying 1.495 kg of heroin in September 2008 at the Guilin International Airport, and his execution is set for December 8.
According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer:
President Benigno Aquino III has sent a “letter of appeal” to his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, requesting commutation of the convict’s death penalty to life imprisonment, disclosed DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez.
For his part, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario “made representations with the Chinese Embassy in Makati City to convey the appeal of the Philippine government for a mitigated sentence for the Philippine national’s case.”
ABS-CBN News reports that the Malacañang Palace “respects” the decision of the Chinese government and that the Philippine government has “exhausted all efforts” to appeal for clemency. Said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda:
“We recognize the decision of the judicial authorities in China. It was made based on the evidence that the Filipino national was carrying [1.495] kilos of heroin. And therefore based on their law, it was subject to the death penalty. It was done in compliance with their legal processes. We respect that and I believe that in the same manner that three Filipinos were previously executed, this should not cause a hiccup in Filipino-Chinese relations.”
A Filipino migrant rights group is lobbying the Aquino administration to do something to save the life of the drug mule. Said John Leonard Monterona, Middle East regional coordinator of Migrante:
“We are still praying and hoping that the execution will be halted, though Chinese authorities really adhere on its strict implementation of anti-drugs policy and have meted out death to those found guilty.”
“We hope that our calls for the Aquino govt. to work hard to saving the lives of other OFWs on death row must be met with all seriousness and pro-active stance on the part of the present administration,” Monterona added.
Monterona reiterates his group calls on the Aquino govt. the formation of a high-level inter-agency task force that would find ways for the commutation of Filipinos’ death sentences and eventually spare them from execution.
If the death sentence of the unnamed man is not successfully commuted, he will likely be the fourth Filipino to be executed in China this year. Three Filipino drug mules were put to death by lethal injection in Shenzhen this March and they were the first Filipinos to ever be executed in China.