MANILA, Philippines – A determined Vice President Jejomar Binay personally delivered President Aquino’s letter of appeal to the Chinese Embassy for the commutation of the death sentence of a Filipino convicted of drug trafficking.
"We fully respect the laws of China and we are appealing to you on humanitarian grounds," Binay told Charges d’affaires Bai Tian.
The Chinese official welcomed Binay when arrived at the Chinese embassy in Makati past 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Binay also reiterated that the Philippines is a predominantly Christian nation, telling the Chinese official that December 8 holds a special significance to Filipinos as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Bai Tian meanwhile assured the Vice President that Aquino's letter "would be immediately delivered to the concerned people."
In his letter to Chinese Premier Hu Jintao, Aquino appealed that the Filipino's sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.
"For humanitarian reasons, I appeal to Your Excellency to spare the life of [the Filipino] who was convicted and sentenced to death by the Guilin Municipal People's Court," Aquino wrote.
"I wish to stress that my Government fully respects the law of China. However, I am moved by compassion for the family of [the Filipino] who is appealing that he be given a second chance to reform himself," he added.
Binay, the Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers Concerns, was supposed to leave for China to deliver the letter to the Chinese president, but the Chinese government said "it was unable to arrange his visit at this time."
The Filipino's death sentence has been affirmed by the Guangxi High People's Court and also upheld by the Supreme People's Court of China.
He is scheduled to be executed on December 8. His family has requested that his name and province of origin be withheld from the media.
“Hangga't di pa po nangyayari ang kinakatakutan natin ay mayroon pa po tayong pag-asa," Binay said.
He added, "Dagdagan na lang po natin ang ating mga panalangin at may awa po ang Diyos".