• When the ultimate price must be paid

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    There is not much that we as a people can do for that unnamed Filipina drug mule executed by China for drug trafficking except to pray for the eternal repose of her soul.

    For having committed a most serious offense, she was made to pay the ultimate price—her life.

    For better or for worse, her identity was not released to the public. Perhaps in time the details of her sad life will be revealed. But for now, her family has requested that she maintain her anonymity, at least until this personal crisis has passed.

    Soon enough, her remains will be brought home and given a decent burial. For her family and friends, time will heal the wound of her passing. Life will go on.

    We can surmise that the Filipina allowed herself to become a drug mule because she and her family were in dire need of money. What other reason can there be?

    The earnings in this illicit and dangerous trade can be pretty substantial. But like any high risk, high reward venture, the penalties for being caught far outweigh the rewards.

    China and its ultra-strict drug laws is one of the last places in the world where a mule will want to get caught. The penalty is almost always death. Yet China is where she had gone on a tourist visa carrying a large quantity of heroin.

    She was caught, tried and sentenced to death. This week, that sentence was carried out.

    It is ridiculous to suggest that China is punishing the Philippines over the maritime conflicts between the two nations by executing a Filipino drug courier. China executes all convicted drug traffickers regardless of race, color or creed. Or citizenship.

    Blame game
    As can be expected, Philippine media has played up the execution, and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s failed attempt to stop the same. Various groups are set to blame the government or China for what they claim is a miscarriage of justice.

    In cases like this, the claim is always that the courier was an innocent victim, and that she was not aware that she was actually carrying dangerous contraband. Moreover, the expectations are that a letter from the President of the Philippines will magically overturn a court’s decision, and the drug mule will eventually rejoin her family, none the worse for wear.

    There will then be calls for the government to run after the true guilty parties, those evil drug cartels which use innocent civilians to do their bidding.

    Such nonsense.

    Our unnamed kababayan who was convicted by a Chinese court was, in all likelihood, aware that she was engaged in a most dangerous global business. The drugs that she carried would have eventually found their way to the streets, where the usual victims are young men and women who are not aware that taking drugs is a form of slow but sure suicide.

    Innocent and naïve
    She must have been promised a very large amount as compensation for her services. She probably received a substantial down payment for those services, as well. Only the most innocent and naïve would believe that there were no risks involved, and that the death penalty would not be meted on them if caught.

    Still, there will be those who will say that the drug mule is nothing more than an overseas Filipino worker who was lured into committing a serious crime against her will.

    Not so.

    This case is so unlike that of Flor Contemplacion, for example.

    Recall that Contemplacion was tried, found guilty, and executed in Singapore for having killed a fellow OFW. The one similarity between Contemplacion and the unnamed drug courier is that they both broke the law in a foreign land and were made to face the full force of those lands’ laws.

    Just because the Philippines has permanently suspended the death penalty does not mean that we should expect all other countries where there are large communities of OFWs to set the same standards. Every OFW must realize that he or she is subject to the laws of their host countries and neither President Benigno Aquino 3rd nor Vice President Binay can be expected to play the role of the white knight who arrives in the nick of time to save the day by writing a letter pleading for clemency, thereby staying the death sentence.

    It only happens in the movies. In real life, the penalty for drug trafficking is death and this week, one Filipina was thus penalized for allowing herself to become a drug mule.

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