MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has granted a conditional pardon with voluntary deportation to William Robert Burton, a British national who was convicted by the Pasay Regional Trial Court for attempting to smuggle 5.6 kilograms of the illegal drug hashish through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in 1992.
Burton's conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court in 1997.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President signed the order, giving conditional pardon for Burton, last December 21. The reason for the conditional pardon was not specified.
Burton’s health is reportedly deteriorating and he is said to be suffering from thalidomide.
The conditions laid out for Burton’s pardon are as follows:
(1) That he shall pay a fine of P20,000.00, imposed upon him by the Pasay RTC;
(2) That he shall voluntary agree to be deported and never to return to the Philippines, “he being an undesirable alien";
(3) that upon release from the National Penitentiary he shall be turned over to the custody of the Bureau of Immigration for proper disposition; and
(4) that he shall shoulder all the transportation expenses incurred in his trip and must take the first available means of transportation to Rufforth, Yorkshire, England.
“Upon acceptance of this pardon, William Burton y Robert shall be released from confinement and delivered to the custody of the Commissioner of Immigration who shall see to it that the above conditions of the pardon are fulfilled and who shall recommit him to prison in case of non-compliance with said conditions,” Aquino said in his order.
Aquino also approved the commutation of the sentences of:
(1) Antonio Aure y Apariente, convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Dapa, Surigao del Norte, of illegal fishing with the use of explosives. His sentence of 20 years imprisonment to reclusion perpetua has been commuted to a definite prison term of 25 years;
(2) Aurelio Nartarez y Macario, convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Candon, Ilocos Sur, for violation of RA 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. His indeterminate prison term of 12 years and one day to 20 years with a fine P300,000 has been commuted to an indeterminate prison term of 7 years to 12 years with a fine of P300,000.
(3) Edy Paneza y Baruhabo, convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Iloilo City and whose conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court for violating PD 532 (highway robbery). His original sentence of reclusion perpetua with pecuniary liability has been commuted to a definite prison term of 25 years and to pay civil indemnity of P50,000.
(4) Alvani Salasa y Manawi, alias “Monir,” convicted by the Regional Trial Court of Tagum, Davao of robbery with homicide. His original sentence of reclusion perpetua has been commuted to a definite prison term of 27 years.
There is no word as to the case of the “Abadilla 5.” The Board of Pardons and Parole has reportedly recommended the commutation of the life sentences of Lenido Lumanog, Cesar Fortuna, Joel de Jesus, Rameses de Jesus and Augusto Santos, who were convicted for the killing of Col. Rolando Abadilla.
Valte said there is no information yet if the recommendation has reached the President’s desk.
“We are checking on the status… We will have to see first the progress of the paperwork,” Valte said.