Thursday, February 17, 2011

Binay: Pray for miracle to save 3 Pinoys in China

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Thursday urged the country to turn to prayer to save the lives of 3 Filipinos facing execution on China's death row.

“Wag nating sabihin na it’s over. Hangga’t hindi nangyayari, may pag-asa pa....Isama natin sila sa ating dasal. Miracles can happen. This is an instance when we ask for miracles to happen,” he said in a press conference in MalacaƱang.

Binay had received instructions from President Benigno Aquino III to go to China to appeal the case of the three OFWs.

However, Binay said he was told that his impending visit to Beijing was considered “inappropriate” by the Chinese government.

The Philippine government is exerting all efforts to commute the sentences of the 3 Filipinos who are scheduled to be executed next week.

The accused, one male and two females, were sentenced to death by lethal injection for smuggling 4-6 kilograms of heroin. Under Chinese law, smuggling of 50 grams or more of heroin or equivalent drugs is punishable by death.

The Chinese Embassy on Wednesday said the death sentence on 3 Filipino drug traffickers in China was sustained after a judicial review of the Supreme People's Court (SPC) of the People's Republic of China. The embassy said the Philippines has already been informed of the SPC's decision through diplomatic channels.

Earlier, the Vice President echoed the President's appeal to the government of China to commute the death penalty to life imprisonment for humanitarian reasons.

“We do not question the decision of the Chinese courts in meting the death penalty to the accused. However, the accused are not the principals in this case,” he added.

Binay noted that the accused were “ordinary Filipinos” who left the country in search for a better life for their families. He added that they were taken advantage of by drug syndicates and made to carry illegal drugs in exchange for easy money.

The Vice President also emphasized that the accused are not drug traffickers, pushers, manufacturers or users.

“I am calling on the Chinese government to re-evaluate the sentence in light of the aforementioned considerations,” he said.

Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ricky Carandang said the Philippine government has already successfully appealed to the Chinese government to commute the sentences of other Filipinos on China's death row.

"Death sentence din sila pero na-commute na natin and sentence nila, life imprisonment na lang. Ang naiiwan na lang talaga itong 3 because the Chinese government said the evidence against them is strong," he said.

He also noted that President Aquino wanted to confer with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the matter but the Chinese government has not signified willingness to accept the phone call.






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