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Thursday, March 24, 2011

China to execute 3 Pinoys on March 30


Three Filipinos, who have been sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling, will be executed on March 30, 2011, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.

DFA Spokesman Ed Malaya said the Fujian People's Court and Guangdong High People's Court have informed the Philippine Consulates General in Xiamen and Guangzhou that the death penalty will be carried out on Ramon Credo and Sally Villanueva in Xiamen, and Elizabeth Batain in Shenzhen.

He said their families have been informed of the execution date and arrangements are being made for them to depart for China during the weekend to visit and see their loved ones.

Likewise, Malaya said, President Benigno S. Aquino III has been apprised of the execution date.

Credo, 42, was arrested on Dec. 28, 2008 at the Gaoji International Airport in Xiamen for carrying 4,113 grams of heroin; Villanueva, 32, was nabbed on Dec. 24, 2008 also in Gaoji Airport for carrying some 4,410 grams of the prohibited substance; and Batain, 38, was apprehended at the Shenzhen Airport with 6,800 grams of the same substance.

Under Chinese law, smuggling of 50 grams or more of heroin or equivalent drugs is punishable with the death penalty.

For this type of offense, execution is by lethal injection.

The three Filipinos were originally scheduled to be executed on February 20 and 21, but were stayed as a result of the humanitarian visit to Beijing of Vice President Jejomar Binay on February 18.

During Binay’s visit, the Philippines conveyed that it “respects Chinese law and the (final) verdict of the Supreme People's Court” on these cases.

Malaya said the Philippine government provided the three Filipinos all possible legal and consular assistance.

He said the government ensured that their legal rights were respected and observed, and their welfare protected from the time of their arrests and throughout the judicial process, and even up to this very day.

With this latest development, the DFA appealed to all Filipinos, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), not to allow themselves to be victimized by international drug syndicates and to be extremely cautious when dealing with strangers in airports and other areas of transit.

We wish to stress that vigilance is the first major step in combating the modus operandi of international drug traffickers. We urge all our citizens to be on alert at all times in order not to be victimized by drug syndicates,” Malaya said.


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