Binay heads to China for Filipino on death row
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Jejomar Binay will fly to China to appeal for the life of a Filipina on death row for drug trafficking.
In an interview on Friday, June 28, Binay said President Benigno Aquino III and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) asked him to head to Beijing this weekend to deliver the President’s letter addressed to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The DFA earlier said that the Filipino, whom it did not identify, will face the death penalty any time between Thursday and Tuesday, July 2.
Aquino’s letter asks China to commute the sentence, citing humanitarian reasons.
“President Aquino’s heart is really for the OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” said Binay who is the Presidential Adviser on OFWs’ affairs.
Asked about the chances that China will order a stay of execution, Binay said: “There are many factors that must be considered so let’s see. Let’s just continue praying. I always present myself as an optimist. We in the government have the responsibility to find ways to save the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” he said on the sidelines of the oath-taking of his daughter, senator-elect Nancy Binay.
China’s Supreme People’s Court affirmed on Wednesday a lower court’s decision sentencing the Filipino to death. She was convicted for smuggling 6.198 kilos of heroin in China.
The DFA said the woman “has been going back and forth” from Dubai, Hong Kong and China up to 18 times from 2008 to 2011, and earned up to P3 million when she was apprehended.
This is not the first time Binay is heading to Beijing to appeal for the lives of Filipinos on death row. In 2011, he also went to China to appeal for Filipinos Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain.
China then ordered a stay of execution but later carried out the death sentence.
Despite the appeals, the DFA has said that the Philippines “respects Chinese law” and also has a “strong anti-illegal drug policy.”
"We appeal to all Filipinos not to allow themselves to be involved in drug trafficking and to be extremely cautious when dealing with strangers in airports and other areas of transit. We call for personal vigilance and responsibility on the part of Filipinos who travel abroad,” DFA spokesperson Raul Hernandez said.
‘Money not worth the risk’
With this new case of drug smuggling, Binay again urged Filipinos not to put themselves at risk.
“In Hong Kong, they already know she was carrying something but they allowed her in, intending to apprehend the buyer of drugs. That is how sophisticated their equipment is now. Second, the penalty is really heavy. It is death penalty for those who will be apprehended with 50 grams, what more in this case, we are talking about kilograms?”
“So it’s not worth taking the risk but many still do,” he added.
Binay said the case highlights the need to look after the welfare of OFWs, hailing their contributions to the economy.
“We hope the day will come when Filipinos will not leave the country out of necessity, but because it's their choice.”
Binay’s daughter, Nancy, said the problem is complex and government must act to address various factors.
“First, it’s about money because they earn a lot from carrying drugs. Like this Filipina on death row was able to do it several times so she became confident she won’t get caught. It all boils down to poverty so that’s what we should focus on.”
The incoming senator said Filipinos should not be fooled by drug syndicates.
“But at the end of the day, we still need to help our fellow Filipinos. We should exert all effort to save another Filipino,” she said. – Rappler.com
In these changing times, courage and clarity become even more important.
Take discussions to the next level with Rappler PLUS — your platform for deeper insights, closer collaboration, and meaningful action.
Sign up today and access exclusive content, events, and workshops curated especially for those who crave clarity and collaboration in an intelligent, action-oriented community.
As a bonus, we’re also giving a free 1-year Booky Prime membership for the next 200 subscribers.
You can also support Rappler without a PLUS membership. Help us stay free and independent by making a donation: https://www.rappler.com/crowdfunding. Every contribution counts.