• Aquino pleads for life of Pinay drug mule

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    PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd has appealed to his Chinese counterpart to spare a Filipino woman who was convicted of drug trafficking, a crime punishable by death.

    On Thursday, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that President Aquino has officially intervened to save the Filipina from certain death.

    “President Aquino has written a letter of appeal requesting the commutation of a death sentence,” Lacierda said.

    The letter was sent through the Chinese embassy in Manila and the Philippine embassy in Beijing.

    China has previously ignored such appeals. It executed four Filipino drug convicts in 2011.

    The 35-year-old woman is scheduled to be executed anytime between Thursday and July 2 and her family has been preparing to travel to China for what could be their final meeting, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

    China’s Supreme People’s Court upheld the decision of a lower court to sentence the woman to death for carrying six kilos of heroin. The Chinese criminal code states that bringing in more than 50 grams of illegal drugs to the country is punishable by death.

    In 2011, three Filipinos— Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain—were executed. The death sentences were carried out despite an appeal from the Philippine government.

    The Filipina now sentenced to death is one of two Filipino citizens arrested in a province near Shanghai in January 2011.

    She entered Shanghai as a tourist.

    The Foreign Affairs department reiterated its call to all Filipinos to avoid accepting offers from individuals or groups to carry suspicious-looking packages in exchange for money.

    Currently, there are 213 drug-related cases in China involving Filipinos. Out of those, 28 have been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and a chance to lower their sentence.

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