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31 March 2011

No significant number of Filipinos on Death row in China after Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain

A March 31, 2011 press release by the Department of Foreign Affairs
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) clarifies that there are no significant number of Filipinos on death row in China.
There were originally six death penalty convictions, without reprieves, which reached the Supreme People’s Court of China in Beijing. Three of these convictions were eventually affirmed by China’s highest court, namely those of Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain.
On the other hand, the penalties in two of the six convictions were lowered by the high court from death penalty (without reprieve) to death penalty with two-year reprieve.
The equivalent of death penalty with two-year reprieve in Philippine law is automatic commutation to life imprisonment, provided the individuals concerned conduct themselves with good behavior within the two-year period.
With five criminal convictions resolved, only one case, which also concerns trafficking of illegal drugs, remains pending review before China’s highest court. The Philippine Consulate concerned has been fully assisting the Filipino involved in this case. High level representations for clemency on his behalf have also been made by Philippine officials at various levels and on numerous occasions.
Earlier, 73 Filipinos facing drug trafficking charges in China were saved from death row when they were meted death penalties with two-year reprieves, which in Philippine legal parlance is equivalent to life imprisonment.  Each of them were assisted by legal counsels and Philippine Consulate General officials in China from their arrests and during their criminal trials and appeals.
In an affidavit signed on March 26 in Xiamen, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva affirmed that she received full legal and consular assistance from the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen and the Philippine Government.
During her trial she stated, “I was provided legal representation by the Court, as well as legal and consular assistance by the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen. The Court also provided an English interpreter for my hearings at the Xiamen Municipal Intermediate People’s Court on June 24, 2009 and the Fujian Provincial Higher People’s Court on October 23, 2009.”
“Upon my request, the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen also provided a Filipino interpreter during the hearing conducted by the Intermediate Court to help me communicate properly with the Chinese Court.”
“With the help of the Philippine Consulate General in Xiamen, I filed for an appeal … with the Fujian Provincial Higher People’s Court…”

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