9:18 pm | Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
MANILA, Philippines — The deadline is Wednesday (July 3), but the Philippines remains in the dark on the exact time the Filipino drug courier sentenced to death in China will be executed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Tuesday afternoon that the Chinese government had not informed the Philippine government when it would carry out the death penalty on the 35-year-old Filipino woman arrested for drug trafficking in the city of Hangzhou in eastern China in 2011.
“We have not yet received any specific date or time for the execution of our kababayan in Hangzhou, but it seems that it is very imminent,” the DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez, said in a press briefing on Tuesday.
On Monday, the woman’s family, including her mother and son, were granted a 30-minute final visit at the Zhejiang Detention Center in Hangzhou, where she has been jailed for two years now.
The family, who was in Shanghai as of Tuesday, has requested that their privacy be respected and asked that their loved one’s name be kept in confidence, Hernandez said.
“We don’t know if we will be informed before or after [the execution]. There were cases when we were informed before and there were cases when it happened right after the visit of the family of the accused,” he said.
Hernandez said the execution would likely be carried out through lethal injection.
Chinese authorities arrested the woman and her cousin at the international airport in Hangzhou in January 2011 for each carrying more than six kilos of heroin. They were known to have travelled as tourists to Hangzhou, flying from Dubai and transiting through Hong Kong before landing on the mainland.
Both were sentenced to death, but the male convict was given a two-year reprieve within which to reform and qualify for a commutation of his sentence to life.
The DFA said evidence proved that the woman had led the busted operation and had carried drugs into China 18 times between 2008 and the time of her arrest in January 2011, earning $3,000 to $4,000 for each successful trip.
Hernandez said the DFA provided the woman with legal assistance throughout the trial.
President Aquino earlier appealed to Chinese President Xi Jinping to spare the Filipino’s life and commute her sentence to life citing humanitarian reasons.
Hernandez said the Philippines has not received an official response to the plea but expressed the country’s respect to China’s justice system.
Vice President Jejomar Binay planned to personally appeal for the Filipino’s life but his trip, set on June 30, did not push through as the Chinese Foreign Ministry found it “not a convenient time to accommodate” the official. The Chinese Embassy in Manila has not issued a statement.
In March 2011, China executed Filipinos Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain through lethal injection for drug trafficking despite the Philippines’ appeal for a stay in their death sentence.
Some 213 drug-related cases involve Filipino nationals in China, 28 of which led to death penalty convictions that could still be commuted to life sentence under a two-year reprieve.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer’s Reader’s Advocate. Or write The Readers’ Advocate: