• China executes Pinay drug mule

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    China on Wednesday executed the unnamed Filipina convicted of trafficking six kilos of heroin in Shanghai, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

    Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said the woman was put to death yesterday morning. The Philippine Consulate in Shanghai is working for the repatriation of her remains.

    “It is with profound sadness that we confirm our fellow Filipino was executed in China this morning. We send our deepest sympathy and condolences to the family of the Filipino as they mourn the lost of their loved one,” Hernandez said.

    He refused to identify the woman in deference to her family’s request.

    “The life of every Filipino is valuable and we hope that something like this won’t happen again,” Hernandez added as he reiterated the department’s appeal to Filipinos working or travelling abroad not to get involved with drug syndicates.

    “Drug trafficking is a criminal act in the Philippines and all over the world,” the Foreign Affairs official emphasized.

    Vice President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday said the family of the Filipina expressed the wish to cremate the woman’s remains immediately after her execution. There were no reports if the body was cremated.

    The family also requested that a news blackout be imposed but Philippine Consul General to Shanghai Charles Jose explained to the Filipina’s mother that “we cannot withhold from the public the fact of the execution when it happens.”

    However, the department promised that it will not name the victim.

    Aside from the Filipina, her male cousin was also convicted for the same crime. However, he was given a two-year reprieve.

    In March 2011, China also put to death Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain for smuggling drugs.

    There are 213 other Filipinos jailed in China on drugs offenses.

    About 28 of them—apart from the woman executed Wednesday — have already been sentenced to death but have been granted two-year reprieves, the DFA said.

    The woman executed yesterday was arrested along with her male cousin in 2011. She was the fifth convicted drug smuggler from the Philippines to be out to death by China since the execution of Credo, Ordinario and Batain.

    A Filipino man was executed in December 2011.

    All five executions were carried out despite intense lobbying by President Benigno Aquino to have the sentences commuted to life imprisonment.

    Malacañang also extended its condolences to the family of the 35-year-old Filipino executed on Wednesday.

    ”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,” Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.

    Migrants group Migrante reiterated its call on the government to step up efforts to protect Filipinos abroad from being victimized by drug syndicates.

    “She may have been proven a drug trafficker by the Chinese court, but let us not ignore the fact that she and other Filipinos who were previously executed in China were victims, first of their dire economic situation who were forced to migrate to earn a living, and secondly, by the international drug syndicates,” Migrante vice chairman John Leonard Monterona, also the group’s coordinator in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), said.

    ‘We have no other options left than to fight back and intensify our campaign versus drug syndicates victimizing OFWs and Filipinos abroad. Let’s make real concerted efforts in this fight,” he added. “Let’s report and voluntarily give information about drug syndicates recruiting drug mules to the concerned authorities.”

    He called on the DFA and diplomatic posts abroad to launch an intensive information and education drive to warn Filipinos on drug syndicates that prey on Overseas Filipino Workers.

    He said Filipinos leaving to work abroad should also be given pre-departure warnings about the operations of international drug rings.

    WITH CATHERINE VALENTE AND AFP

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