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China reviewing case of another Pinoy convict
« on: April 01, 2011, 09:27:00 AM »
By Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) Updated April 01, 2011 12:00 AM 


MANILA, Philippines - A death sentence imposed on another Filipino convicted of drug trafficking is pending review before the Supreme People’s Court of China, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.

The DFA said the death sentence without reprieve meted on a Filipino in Guangzhou is not yet final.

There is only one Filipino currently on Death Row in China, the DFA added.

Originally, six death sentences without reprieves had reached the Supreme People’s Court of China in Beijing.

Three of them were eventually affirmed: those of Ramon Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain.

The penalties in two of the six convictions were lowered to death penalty with two-year reprieve.

The equivalent of death penalty with two-year reprieve in Philippine law is automatic commutation to life imprisonment, provided the convicts show good behavior within the two-year period.

The DFA said the Philippine consulate has been fully assisting the Filipino involved in the case.

“With five criminal convictions resolved, only one case, which also concerns trafficking of illegal drugs, remains pending review before China’s highest court,” the DFA said.

The DFA said 75 Filipinos facing drug trafficking charges in China were saved from death row when they were meted death penalties with two-year reprieves, which in Philippine legal parlance is equivalent to life imprisonment.

“Each of them were assisted by legal counsels and Philippine consulate general officials in China from their arrests and during their criminal trials and appeals,” the DFA said.



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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2011, 09:27:55 AM »

Alleged recruiter sad at Villanueva’s death


In Isabela, the alleged recruiter of Villanueva expressed sorrow for her death.

Speaking over radio in Ilagan, Tita Cacayan aka Mapet Cortez of Barangay Rizal, Alicia town refuted charges of human trafficking and illegal recruitment made by Villanueva’s family against her.

The National Bureau of Investigation released Cacayan from detention in Manila after authorities failed to formally charge her.

NBI deputy director for Intelligence services Ruel Lasala said Cacayan was given an extension period to answer human trafficking and large-scale illegal recruitment charges against her.

Her preliminary investigation was reset to April 4.

Meanwhile, relatives of Vilanueva initially wanted her remains brought to Barangay Rizal where the she spent her childhood and maiden years.

Villanueva said she got acquainted with townmate Cacayan in 2007 in Macau.

As of this report, Villanueva’s relatives have expressed apprehension over the seclusion of her husband, Hilarion, who has not been heard of since the weekend.

Edith Bueno said Hilarion had been depressed and desolate and would drink and cry pleading his wife’s innocence.


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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2011, 09:28:40 AM »

Binay to grant scholarships to kids of 3 Pinoys killed in China


Vice President Jejomar Binay will grant scholarships to the children of three Filipinos executed for drug trafficking in China.

The presidential adviser on OFW concerns said he will put the children of Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Elizabeth Batain and Ramon Credo under the scholarship program of the JCB Foundation in which he is the founding chairman.

Villanueva has a daughter and a son, Batain has two daughters, and Credo has a son.

“Ensuring that their children will have a bright future is the least we can do for the families of our three kababayan,” Binay said.

“Part of the reason they went to work abroad was because of their dream of giving quality education for their children. I hope that through the scholarships, we will be able to help them realize those dreams.”

Binay called on the Filipino people to pray for the repose of the souls of Villanueva, Batain and Credo, and strength for their families.

He vowed to intensify the fight against drug smuggling and to take all necessary action to stop it from destroying more lives and families.

Binay said the executions served as an eye-opener to seriously reflect on the plight of overseas workers.

“The administration of President Aquino is committed to look after the well-being of our overseas Filipino workers,” he said.

“Our President is determined to introduce much-needed reforms in government to address the concerns of our OFWs, and make our government agencies more responsive to their needs. 

“In the long term, President Aquino is determined to provide a stable economy that will guarantee jobs for all Filipinos.”

Binay is now in the Middle East to discuss with government leaders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia wide-ranging issues, especially on matters involving the rights and welfare of OFWs in the region.

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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2011, 09:29:43 AM »

Filipina meted life in Thailand


A Filipina was sentenced to life imprisonment in Thailand for smuggling drugs, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares said yesterday.

Colmenares learned about the plight of Icoy Mamontong after a three-day stay in Bangkok to visit jailed Filipinos.

Mamontong joined Flory May Talaban, who was also sentenced on drug related charges, he added.

Colmenares said together with the parents of Talaban, he managed to visit Filipinas in the Bangkok Correctional Institution for Female Offenders.

“Flory May detailed how she innocently brought an encyclopedia upon the request of African Francis Yerti, who befriended her and who later turned out to be a member of an international drug syndicate,” he said.

“I also saw a 55-year-old OFW Estrellita Basilio, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for bringing in what she thought were dyeing materials from her employer but later turned out to be cocaine,” he said.

“She retired from her job in the Philippines, lured through the Internet, with a promise of office work with a $1,200 a month salary in a casino.

“She never expected to end up in a Thai prison.”

Colmenares said Basilio unknowingly pleaded guilty to charges of drug trafficking, which brings to the fore the need to increase the budget for legal assistance to OFWs, which was reduced by the Aquino administration.

“We will definitely fight for a bigger legal assistance budget,” he said. 

“It is unthinkable for a Filipino to suffer life imprisonment or even death penalty without the necessary legal support, especially since most of them are unwitting victims of these drug syndicates.

“A budget of at least P500 million will definitely be proposed.”

Colmenares said lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) must be assigned in Philippine embassies in countries with a large number of OFWs to individually assess their legal cases.

“This initial assessment will help in determining the extent of legal support that must be provided by the Philippine government,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to make sure that due process rights of OFWs are respected when they are accused of crimes, especially those that could merit death sentence,”

Colmenares authored House Resolution 858 calling for a congressional investigation of OFWs languishing in prisons abroad and whether they were given the necessary legal assistance before they were convicted.

“Mrs. Basilio for example was deemed to have pleaded guilty when she was asked by the Thai judge whether she wanted to accept the case or fight,” he said.

“It is important that when the proceedings are in a foreign language, there must be counsel to advise the accused. There are a total of 60 Filipinos in prisons in Thailand, 23 of whom are detained for being drug couriers.

“We must be proactive here. We cannot wait for another death sentence to be carried out, such as those in China, before we act.” — With Raymund Catindig, Jose Rodel Clapano, Paolo Romero


http://www.philstar.com/



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