Palace respects China's decision

by Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 30 2011 02:01 PM | Updated as of Dec 01 2011 02:30 AM

Lacierda says gov't has 'exhausted all efforts' on clemency

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang respects the decision of the Chinese government to carry out the death penalty sentence imposed on a 35 year-old Filipino convicted of drug trafficking.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Filipino’s case went through the process and that the Philippine government has “exhausted all efforts” to appeal for clemency.
President Aquino has sent a letter of appeal to Chinese President Hu Jintao requesting commutation of the Filipino’s death penalty sentence to life imprisonment, but the appeal apparently went unheeded.
The execution is scheduled to be carried out on December 8, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Lacierda believes that the execution would not affect the relations of the Philippines and China, coming at the heels of the President’s state visit to China last August. 

“We recognize the decision of the judicial authorities in China. It was made based on the evidence that the Filipino national was carrying [1.495] kilos of heroin. And therefore based on their law, it was subject to the death penalty. It was done in compliance with their legal processes. We respect that and I believe that in the same manner that three Filipinos were previously executed, this should not cause a hiccup in Filipino-Chinese relations,” Lacierda said.
Aside from the President’s letter, DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario also made representations with the Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines to convey the appeal.

Former Philippine Ambassador to China Francisco Benedicto also conveyed to a top official of the Supreme People’s Court of China the government’s appeal to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Lacierda cited that the penalties of two other Filipinos have been commuted by the Chinese high court from death penalty without reprieve to death penalty with two-year reprieve. This is the last death penalty conviction without reprieve on a Filipino concerning drug trafficking in China’s High Court.
“Number one, it is not for us to comment kung anong klaseng merong sistema ang China. The fact is dumaan ‘yun sa proseso nila. We respect the process that it went through. Number two, meron tayong na-reduce na sentence from death penalty to death penalty with reprieve. That was also done prior to the visit of the President. This other case was undergoing review by their judicial authorities. This should not be seen in any way as a slap to the Philippine government,” Lacierda said.
Three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking were executed last March.
The government once again issued an appeal to all Filipinos not to allow themselves to be used by drug syndicates and act as drug couriers.
“We appeal to all Filipinos, especially 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 would like 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,” the DFA said in a statement read by Lacierda.