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China executes Filipina drug mule

The 35-year-old Filipina who was sentenced to death for bringing in six kilos of heroin into Shanghai, China in 2011 has been executed, the Foreign Affairs Department announced on Wednesday. “It is with profound sadness that we confirm that our fellow Filipino was executed in China this morning.” (Wednesday), said department spokesman Raul Hernandez. “The DFA would like to express its deepest sympathies and condolences to the family of the Filipino as they mourn the loss of their loved one. We certainly do not want other Filipino families to go through the same experience.” Hernandez said that arrangements for the repatriation of the remains of the executed Filipino are presently being undertaken. Malacañang also extended its condolences to the family of the executed Filipina. “We extend our sympathies and condolences to the family. We appeal to the media to allow the family their privacy at this difficult time,” presidential deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a statement. She added that “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 syndicates.” Vice President Jejomar C. Binay,  meanwhile, said he felt saddened when told of the news on the execution. “Let us pray for the eternal rest of her soul and for strength for her family and loved ones,” he said. Other top officials who expressed their sadness and had expressed their condolences to the Filipina’s family include acting Senate President Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Cynthia Villar, Senator Sonny  Angara and Senator Vicente Sotto III. Binay, meanwhile, said he earlier received a request from the family of the Filipina drug mule not to mention anything about the execution, including the time when she was executed. But Philippine Consul General Charles Jose had explained to the Filipina’s mother that we “cannot withhold from the public the fact of the execution when it happens”. The department, however, agreed to the family’s request that the Filipina’s remains be cremated. Binay and Hernandez renewed their calls to Filipinos not to be involved with drug syndicates. “I appeal to our countrymen to refrain from accepting offers to carry illegal drugs to another country. It’s not worth it. Your life is at risk here. No amount of money can replace one’s life. I hope you will not fall victim to syndicates and choose to earn money in the legal way,” Binay said. “We renew our call to our countrymen to avoid any involvement with drug syndicates. Drug trafficking is a criminal act in the Philippines and all over the world. The life of every Filipino is valuable, and we pray that this was the last time that a tragedy like this will happen again,” Hernandez said. The convicted Filipina drug courier was executed despite an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III to have the sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Chinese authorities had said that they have evidence that the Filipina drug mule had smuggled illegal drugs into the country at least 18 times. Hernandez refused to name the Filipina, saying that the family of the Filipina has asked for privacy. The family of the Filipina flew to China on Sunday and was able to talk to her for 30 minutes on Monday at the Zhejiang Detention Center. The Filipina was caught with 6.198 kilos of heroin in her luggage at the Hangzhou International Airport on January 25, 2011. At that time, she was travelling from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates with her 27-year-old male cousin who was also arrested for carrying 6.171 kilos of heroin. Her cousin was sentenced to death but was given a two-year reprieve for good behavior. The death sentence was handed down by China’s Supreme People’s Court last June 26, which upheld the decision of a lower court. The government received the note verbale about the death sentence on June 27. It stated that the execution would be carried out within seven days of the receipt of the note verbale. The deadline ended on July 3, Wednesday. The Chinese criminal code states that bringing in more than 50 grams of illegal drugs to the country is punishable by death. The Filipina was the fifth Filipino drug courier to be sentenced to death in China since 2011. Three Filipinos – Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva and Elizabeth Batain – were executed by lethal injection in 2010. With Vito Barcelo,  Macon R. Araneta and Joyce Pangco-Pañares
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