China put to death a Filipina drug trafficker Wednesday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said, after Beijing ignored Manila’s request to spare her life.
The woman was put to death two days after briefly seeing her family on Monday, DFA spokesman Raul Hernandez said. She was arrested in 2011.
“It is with profound sadness that we confirm that our Filipina (compatriot) was executed in China this morning,” a somber Hernandez told a news conference.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs would like to express its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of the Filipina as they mourn the loss of their loved one,” he added, declining to name the woman at her family’s request.
“The life of every Filipino is valuable and we pray that this is the last time that a tragedy like this befalls any of our countrymen.”
Vice President Jejomar Binay and a spokeswoman for President Benigno Aquino 3rd used their messages of condolence to appeal to Filipinos to resist the temptation to serve as drug mules into China.
“It’s not worth it. You are gambling with your life here. There is no amount that is worth your life,” Binay said in a statement.
“However unfortunate, we hope that this will serve as a continuing lesson to our citizens not to allow themselves to be victimized and to fall prey to these (drug) syndicates,” Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement.
About a tenth of the Philippines’ 100 million people work abroad, many of them under harsh conditions. Drug traffickers sometimes exploit them into becoming drug mules.
The woman was arrested along with her male cousin for heroin-smuggling in 2011 and both were later sentenced to death. But the cousin won a two-year reprieve, according to the Philippine government.
The woman was the fifth convicted drug smuggler from the Philippines to be executed by China since March 2011, when two women and a man were put to death for the crime.
A second Filipino was executed in December 2011.
All five executions were carried out despite intense lobbying by the Philippine president to have the sentences commuted to life imprisonment.
On Sunday Binay aborted a planned trip to China to personally deliver Aquino’s appeal to Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying he had been advised by Beijing that it was not the right time to visit.
A total of 213 other Filipinos are in Chinese jails on drug offences, the foreign department said.
Some 28 of them — apart from the woman executed Wednesday — have already been sentenced to death but have been granted two-year reprieves, it said.
The mainly Catholic Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006, and the 2011 executions of the four Filipino drug smugglers were met with widespread condemnation.
The latest execution comes amid already rocky relations between the two countries, soured by overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea.