MANILA – Two Filipino nationals were executed in China for drug trafficking, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Saturday.
Citing the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou, DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said the execution was carried out Nov. 24 but she withheld the identity of the two upon the request of their next of kin.
The DFA said the Philippine government exhausted all measures available, including making high-level political representations, to appeal the cases of the two Filipinos to the Chinese government and commute their sentences to life imprisonment.
But the Chinese government, citing internal laws, upheld the death sentences.
"Our repeated appeals were consistent with the laws and values of our nation, which put the highest premium on human life," Daza said.
"In the end, the Chinese government, citing their internal laws, upheld the conviction, and the Philippines must respect China’s criminal laws and legal processes.”
Daza added the DFA provided all legal assistance since they were arrested in Guangdong in 2013 and throughout their criminal trial and various appeals that ended after the High People’s Court of the province upheld the verdict in 2018.
The two were nabbed with methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu or poor man's cocaine) with a combined weight of 11.872 kilograms.
The DFA said the illegal drugs were found in their individual luggages concealed in DVD players.
The government, she said, also provided every possible assistance to their families and recently accompanied them to a compassionate visit to Guangzhou, utilizing the DFA Assistance to Nationals Fund.
"We offer our most sincere condolences to their families and loved ones. We respect the wishes of their families for privacy, and as such are withholding the identities of the two Filipinos," she said.
Daza explained that the DFA delayed the announcement, pending receipt from the Chinese side of the formal notification of their execution.
Meanwhile, she reiterated the country's commitment to combating drug syndicates that prey on Filipinos seeking better lives for their families.
"llegal drugs trade remains a scourge that we as a nation must confront. Drug syndicates claim as their victims not only drug addicts, but Filipinos whose socio-economic conditions render them vulnerable to the lure of these criminals," she said.
"The Department issues this urgent reminder to all Filipinos wishing to travel overseas to be vigilant of the modus operandi of drug syndicates in recruiting unwitting travelers as drug mules, and to refuse to carry any package that you have not personally packed and thoroughly inspected."
Of 92 Filipino death penalty cases in China, all but one are drug-related.
Daza said two cases have been commuted to life imprisonment and 86 reduced to fixed terms.
With the twin executions, there are two remaining death penalty cases pending final reviews.
"While the Philippine government will continue to exhaust all possible avenues to assist our overseas nationals, ultimately it is the laws and sovereign decisions of foreign countries, and not the Philippines', which will prevail in these cases," she said. (PNA)