Three Philippine drug-smugglers executed in China

The death sentence that had been imposed on three Filipinos for smuggling between 4 and 7 kg of heroin each into China, has been carried out yesterday, March 30, 2011. The accused were Ramon Credo, 42, Sally Villanueva, 33, and Elizabeth Batain, 38. They were executed by lethal injection.

The death sentence was supposed to be carried out on February 20, but since the vice president of the Philippines, Jejomar Binay, had announced his visit to China in order to try appealing for clemency for the three accused, it was postponed until Wednesday. He had emphasized his respect for China’s anti-drug laws and the rigorous application of them, but also mentioned the fact that the three Filipinos were merely dupes for big drug syndicates rather than important wire pullers. Therefore he had tried to get China to pardon the defendants. The vice president’s efforts, however, were not successful.

The executions triggered various reactions on the Philippines, the country of origin of the accused. There, people had come together to pray for a miracle, saving the lives of the convicts, as people were acquainted with the fact that many Filipinos were forced by their poor standard of living, to work as drug smugglers in order to make a living. They are said to be promised a lot of money or a job overseas, so for many of them, drug-smuggling is the last chance.

Philippine presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda expressed his sympathy for the families of the drug-smugglers. He pointed out the consequences that drugs can have, not just on society, but on individual lives as well, destroying whole families.

Philippine TV commentator Ramon Tulfo officially supported China’s decision to execute the convicts. He said that this would avoid giving the impression that the Philippines are a drug haven. He also wants others involved in drug-smuggling to be found and punished.

The Chinese anti-drug laws state that drug trafficking is a serious offense, imposing harsh punishment on convicts. According to the laws, trafficking of more than 50 grams can lead to long prison terms; larger amounts, however, can be punished with life-long prison terms or death. In the latter case, the Supreme People’s Court makes the final judgment.

As of October 2010, more than 70 Filipinos were convicted of drug trafficking and are now awaiting death sentence in China, as states the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila.


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