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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Death penalty eyed for Chinese convicted of drug crimes in PH

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At least two congressmen are batting for the imposition of the death penalty, but only on Chinese nationals convicted by Philippine courts for drug trafficking.

Reps. Robert Ace Barbers of Surigao del Norte and Rufus Rodriguez of Cagayan de Oro City raised their sentiments following a report by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that China executed last Nov. 24 two Filipinos convicted of drug charges.

“If they put our compatriots to death for violations connected to illegal drugs, let us do the same to their nationals, many of whom are caught manufacturing, peddling or smuggling drugs into the country,” Barbers said.

“While we condemn in no uncertain terms any and all illegal drug activities, we urge the two houses of congress to take a serious look at the reimposition of the death penalty most especially on drug related offenses,” Barbers, for his part, said.

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, has consistently refiled his bill in the previous three congresses reimposing the death penalty on certain heinous crimes, especially on drug-related offenses. House Bill 1543 is still pending at the House justice committee.

“Our compatriots convicted in foreign lands for drug trafficking are almost always executed while we extend kid gloves treatment if not VIP treatment to foreigners, especially Chinese nationals who are apprehended and convicted of the same offense here. There should be a similar punishment imposed on these foreign nationals, as well as fellow Filipinos who introduce drugs into the country,” Barbers stressed.

“If other countries treat illegal drugs as a threat to their citizenry and the whole society, why are we so soft in treating this menace in our own territory?” he added.

According to Barbers, “China was firm in executing Filipinos yet we are being flooded with tons and tons of illegal drugs especially shabu from China. It is a wonder that while China was very, very hard on drug trafficking, the drugs that come to our shores originate from its ports. Yet, we have yet to see one Chinese convict being executed to deter others from committing such heinous a crime.”

It may be recalled that during the past administration, the concentration of anti-drugs campaign was on the demand side, leading to the arrests and deaths of thousands of drug pushers and users.

“It is long overdue that we seriously train out guns on the supply side of this illegal drug trade. If we can deter the foreign suppliers, we will send a strong signal that our people are not guinea pigs of their drugs. The continuous inflow of drugs from China is a serious insult to our government and meant to belittle our laws, in the same way that they are not afraid of our military forces in the West Philippine Sea,”Barbers noted.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez rallied his colleagues to immediately pass House Bill 2459 he filed on July 27, 2022.

The measure seeks to impose the stiffer punishment, including death on aliens found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs and other prohibited substances, amending for the purpose Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.”

Under the measure, a foreigner convicted of a drug offense by a local court would be meted the death penalty if such punishment is imposable for the same crime in his home country.

Rodriguez has been a constant critic of Chinese bullying and harassment of Filipino fishermen and troops in the West Philippine Sea.

He said it is not fair that Filipinos get the death penalty in China, while Chinese nationals involved in illegal drugs here suffer only life imprisonment.

He said drug traffickers and other criminals in China and other countries where the death penalty is imposable “go to the Philippines to pursue their nefarious activities because they know that if they are convicted, they can enjoy life in prison and even continue their illegal pursuits there.”

Rodriguez said most of the drug law violators caught by local authorities were Chinese.

“Many of them are even able to get away with their crimes because of connections in high places and, of course, bribery,” he added.

He pointed out that the DFA report last weekend was just the latest in a string of executions by China of Filipinos for drug offenses.

The Mindanao lawmaker recalled that on July 3, 2013, a 35-year-old Filipina was executed. Before that, in March 2011, Beijing put to death three Filipinos for drug violations.

Rodriguez said China carried out the executions despite repeated pleas from the Philippine government, international human rights groups and countries advocating respect to life and human rights.

“While we do not question the laws of China and other countries, we must ensure that our countrymen do not suffer the short end of the stick. As such, there is a need to amend our laws to make sure that foreigners caught violating our statutes on drugs get the harshest penalties that their laws impose,” he said.

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