Death sentences on Three Filipinos in China for Drug Trafficking

A February 15, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs

The Department received information on February 11 that the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in Beijing has reviewed and rendered its decision on five cases of Filipinos sentenced to death by courts in the provinces of Fujian and Guangdong for drug trafficking.

Two of the five Filipinos, earlier meted the death penalty without reprieve, were given two-year reprieves.

However, for three of the cases, after a thorough and serious review process, the SPC sustained the lower courts’ decisions, and the death sentences will be carried out in accordance to Chinese law.

As the public is aware, the Philippine Government has made sustained and exhaustive representations with the Chinese Government at all levels to seek mitigated sentences for all Filipinos on death penalty.

Earlier, 72 cases were granted two-year reprieves. Under Chinese law, the original verdict may be commuted to life imprisonment if the prisoner displays good behavior while incarcerated.

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

The death penalty will be carried on three Filipino nationals:

1. A male, 42 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 4,113 grams of heroin on 28 December 2008, in Xiamen;

2. A female, 32 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 4,110 grams of heroin on 24 December 2008, in Xiamen;

3. A female, 38 years old, who was convicted for smuggling 6,800 grams of heroin on 24 May 2008, in Shenzhen.

The Philippine Government provided the three Filipinos all necessary and possible assistance and has ensured that their legal rights were observed and their welfare protected from the time of their arrest and throughout the judicial process.

The families of the three have been informed of the SPC decision.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) conveys its grave disappointment and sadness at this turn of events.

There is no imposition of capital punishment under Philippine law. Representations are ongoing for possible commutation of the three death sentences.

The DFA has been working closely with other concerned agencies and constantly updating the Office of the President on these drug trafficking cases.

The Philippine Government has a strong anti-illegal drug policy, and is closely cooperating with law enforcement agencies in other countries on efforts against anti-drugs trafficking.

It appeals to all Filipinos not to be victimized by international drug syndicates. At the airport, do not agree to carry any luggage for strangers. Avoid falling for other modus operandi employed by drug-trafficking syndicates, like agreeing to carry packages in exchange for money or falling for individuals they meet online and then agreeing to carry items for them. Our people must take full responsibility for their actions by always being on guard against inducements.