A court in China handed down the death sentence to two Filipinos caught smuggling illegal drugs, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
“They're in the detention cell in Hangzhou and they are now in the process of appealing their sentence to the higher people’s court in Zhejiang province,” said DFA spokesperson, Assistant Secretary Raul Hernandez.
The names of the 2 Pinoys—a male and a female—were not disclosed. They were both sentenced to death by the Hangzhou People’s Intermediate Court
“Magkakilala sila. In fact, they are cousins and they were caught bringing in 12 kilos of heroin together,” said Hernandez.
The 2 were caught with about 12 kilos of heroin at the Hangzhou International Airport in Zhejiang province in eastern China last January 25, 2011.
The DFA said the 2 entered China from Dubai via Hong Kong.
Hernandez said the male defendant was given a 2-year reprieve while the female was not.
“If after 2 years in prison he comes out and had demonstrated good behavior and remorse for the crime that he's committed, then his sentence would be commuted to life imprisonment,” explained Hernandez.
“But for the Filipina, we will have to help her in the appeal first at the High People’s Court in Zhejiang province, and later on for the review at the Supreme Court in Beijing,” he said.
He said the Philippine government extended all assistance to the 2 Filipinos immediately after learning about the case.
“The Philippine Consulate General in Shanghai will assist them in their appeal before a higher tribunal,” Hernandez said, adding, “the two were given legal assistance throughout their trial.”
Hernandez said the 2 maintained that they did not know what they were carrying.
“But always at the end of the delivery of the bags to the destination they said they were given a reward of US2,000 to US3,000,” he said.
The DFA spokesman said the Chinese government also found out that the pair had been in and out of China “for 18 times for the lady, and for the male about 11 times in the past”.
In May 2008, the pair was introduced to a person in the Philippines, who convinced them to carry packages to China in exchange for a huge amount of money for each delivery.
Relatives of the two Pinoys have been informed of their case.
“We have already informed them. In fact, we have already assisted them in the writing of an appeal letter that will be sent by our Philippine Consul General in Shanghai to the Chinese authorities in China,” said Hernandez.
As in previous cases, the DFA said they will also continue the practice of appealing on humanitarian grounds for the commutation of death sentences of Filipinos.
(source: ABS-CBN News)