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The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) sincerely appreciates the Inquirer for publishing stories on the agency’s significant accomplishments and advocacies.
The way Philippine government officials again tried to intercede for a convicted Filipino drug mule facing death sentence in China, it would not be surprising if other countries see the Philippines as a nation that tolerates drug couriers. If the situation were reversed, it is most unlikely that Chinese government officials would ask the Philippine government to bend its laws for the sake of a convicted Chinese felon. The two countries have different sets of laws and one should respect the other in the manner by which they are being enforced.
THE RECENT acquittal by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City of one of the so-called Alabang Boys earlier charged with violation of the Comprehensive Anti-Drug Abuse Law comes in the heels of the acquittal of other “Alabang Boys” by the Regional Trial Court of Muntinlupa.
It was happening right under everyone’s nose. In January alone, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) raided not one but three drug dens in the posh Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City. The drug dens were manned by Chinese nationals and were extremely busy producing methamphetamine hydrochloride, locally known as “shabu.” It is hard to imagine that massive amounts of the dangerous drug were being produced in the ritzy neighborhood of designer homes and expansive, manicured lawns. “The neighborhood had no idea that something was going on,” said Evangeline Almenario, PDEA’s public information chief. “There were no signs that something like that was happening inside.”
The recent release of former Rep. Ronald Singson from a Hong Kong prison after serving sentence for dangerous drugs possession provides a stark contrast between the laws of the Philippines and those of Hong Kong. Singson was released after spending only 18 months in prison. In the Philippines, illegal possession of shabu weighing less than five grams is punishable by imprisonment from 12 years and one day to 20 years; if the quantity is more than 10 grams but less than 50 grams, the penalty is life imprisonment.
Perhaps in a season devoid of stories about the historic impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, the recent reports that three multimillion-peso houses in the posh Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa were discovered to be operating as drug dens would have run away with the headlines. They still made it to primetime news and the front pages, all right, but only always second or third fiddle to the blockbuster cascade of stories on the Corona saga. The public’s gaze is fixed elsewhere at this point, and drugs are simply not as compelling or sexy a topic for communal chatter, not even with the tantalizing patina of wealth, power and class snobbery leavening any talk about that grubby illicit powder, methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu.
The execution by lethal injection of the 35-year-old Filipino man in China last Dec. 8 should serve as a dire warning to overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who, knowingly or unknowingly, act as “drug mules” for drug syndicates. After all, that was the fourth of such executions in China this year, which involved Filipinos. Last February, three other OFWs were executed for the same crime. The message should now be clear: should you get caught, there really isn’t much the Philippine government can do to get you off the death row, save what everybody else can do, which is pray.
Vice President Jejomar Binay would now be in Beijing to personally carry a letter of President Aquino to Chinese President Hu Jintao appealing for the commutation of the death sentence to life imprisonment of a Filipino convicted for drug trafficking. Except that Beijing firmly put its foot down, saying it wasn’t going to accommodate the Vice President or the Philippine request.
By Conrado de Quiros
THE BACKLASH came thick and fast. One text message sender said enough with the hypocrisy. The Filipinos who were executed in China were self-confessed drug couriers. Even their families admitted so. By all means let’s grieve for their deaths and commiserate with those they left behind. But let’s not turn them into the aggrieved. Another [...]
By Ma. Ceres P. Doyo
MY TENSES are getting mixed up. Present or past? Are the convicts still waiting to die, are they dying, or are they already dead? By now we should already know the fate of the three overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) who had been condemned and scheduled to die by lethal injection in China on Wednesday. Dying [...]
By Conrado de Quiros
WELL, IT was just a reprieve. Nobody said it was going to be permanent. And so the executions of the Filipino drug mules will take place today anyway. Your heart bleeds for the kin of the condemned, especially the mothers. That was a heart-tugging picture the other day of Basilisa Ordinario holding up a placard [...]
THE CASE of the three Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking in China betrays our government officials’ ignorance of the health hazards of illegal drugs and how drug abuse ruins families and the children’s future. The congenital anomalies and the genetic abnormalities that are associated with alcoholism and use of illegal drugs are well-known. [...]