MANILA, Philippines (5th UPDATE) - A convicted Filipino drug trafficker was executed in China at around 12:30 p.m. today (Thursday), Vice President Jejomar Binay said.
Speaking to reporters from Bali via Skype, Binay said he has received information that the Filipino was executed by lethal injection in Liuzhou, Guangxi province.
"Ang ating kababayan ay na-execute alas-12:30 po ng tanghali," said Binay, who is in Bali, Indonesia to attend an international forum.
The Filipino's family members were accompanied by a Filipino priest Fr. Emil to the Guilin jail on Thursday morning. At around 8:30 a.m., the Filipino met with consulate officials
for 10 minutes, and with his family and Fr. Emil for 25 minutes.
The Filipino's death sentence was promulgated by the Guilin Municipal Intermediate People’s Court after 9 a.m. He was then transferred to Liuzhou for the execution.
Family members were not allowed to accompany the Filipino to Liuzhou.
“Ang subject was very calm nakakalungkot. Nag-iiyak ang pamilya. Pero si Father Emil nakapagbigay ng last rites and communion sa ating kababayan,” said Binay.
Binay said the family and consulate officials will have to secure the release papers to facilitate the immediate repatriation of the Filipino’s remains to Manila.
"Ang mangyayari na po ngayon, yung pamilya at yung opisyales ng konsulado natin ay babalik sa husgado upang makakuha po ng release papers. Mayroon na pong nakausap ang ating konsulado na funeraria na tutulong sa pagsasaayos sa katawan ng ating kababayan," Binay said.
Binay said he expects the family members to identify the Filipino's body later on Thursday. His body is expected to be repatriated by next week, Binay said.
"Inaasahan po, mga kababayan, na ililipad po sa Maynila sa Martes o sa Miyerkules. Basta kahit papaano sa isang linggo po, darating po ang katawan diyan sa ating bansa," Binay said.
According to the Vice President, the Filipino’s family is set to return to Manila on Friday.
“Yun hong gastos sa pag-alis at pagkakatira sa China, pagpapabalik, gagastusan ng ating pamahalaan. Ang pagkakaalam ko yung gastusin sa pagpapauwi kasama na dito yung bangkay ng ating kababayan. Sagot po ng ating pamahalaan,” he said.
Binay could not give information as to where the family plans to bring the remains of the executed Filipino. The Filipino's name has not been revealed upon the request of the family. The family is worried about how his sick mother would take the news of the Filipino's death.
“Yan din ang problema ko kahapon pa. Kasi pinagi-ingatan ng pamilya na kung maari hindi malaman nung nanay nila yung nangyari ngayon. Kaya po hindi ko pa nalalaman kung anong plano ng pamilya,” said Binay.
The Philippine government tried to appeal for clemency for the Filipino convict. Last week, China turned down a visit from Binay, who was supposed to deliver a letter from President Aquino to Chinese President Hu Jintao appealing for the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment.
Reuters quoted a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson as saying that China acted in accordance with the law when it tried the Filipino drug trafficking.
"China tried the Filipino drug smuggler in accordance with the law and protected his legal rights and the case's procedural standing, and carried out relevant obligations under international treaties. China and the Philippines have all along been in contact over this case and those communications have been smooth," the spokesperson had said.
'Be vigilant vs drug syndicates'
Malacañang extended its condolences to the family of the Filipino executed today in China.
"We are extending our sincerest condolences to them. No one would like this situation so grave to happen and not in your soil-you don't leave on your own terms and not in your own country. It certainly is a very painful experience for them and we extend our sincerest condolences," presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said.
Lacierda said that the government has extended its help to the convicted Filipino "from the very beginning." He said this is also true for Filipinos facing cases in other countries.
"We do not start working to help Filipinos who are accused of drug trafficking only when a sentence has been read. We start off from the very beginning. When they are apprehended, we immediately send legal counsels," Lacierda said.
At the same time, the Department on Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday expressed "deep sadness" at the execution of the Filipino drug trafficker in China.
"The DFA is one with the family members of the Filipino as they go through this difficult time. The life of every Filipino is valuable and we mourn with the family. We empathize with the family’s pain. We do not want other Filipinos to go through the same experience," the DFA said in a statement.
At the same time, the department urged Filipinos to be vigilant against drug syndicates.
"Drug trafficking is a criminal act in the Philippines and all over the world. We pray that this is the last time that a tragedy like this befalls on any of our countrymen," it said. - With report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News