2011: Three Philippines drug mules in China

Today in China, overseas Filipino workers Ramon Credo, 42, Sally Villanueva, 32, and Elizabeth Batain, 38, were executed by lethal injection in China as drug smugglers — the first two in Xiamen, and the last in Shenzhen.

The three had been arrested in 2008 and convicted in 2009 for carrying heroin — they said unknowingly — into the People’s Republic.

The fate of these three aroused an outpouring of sympathy in their native land, where economics drives up to 10% of the population to work overseas, often at a hazard.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who personally traveled to China to plead their case, called it “a sad day for all of us.” (Unusually, China actually granted a few weeks’ reprieve from the original February execution dates. This was viewed as a concession, and why not? China has rolled stronger countries in similar cases before without even that courtesy.)

While this case was in the headlines for weeks in the Philippines and around the world, the condemned at the heart of it seem not to have realized their deaths were imminent until relatives flew in from China to meet with them on this very day, just hours before execution.

These seem to be the first known Philippines nationals executed in China for drug trafficking, and if that’s a surprising milestone for the world’s most aggressive executioner to be setting with a regional neighbor noted for its many overseas workers … it bears remembering that it’s only China’s stupendous economic growth in the past generation or so that has made it such an especially attractive migrant worker destination.

This execution date also happens to be the 40th anniversary of another landmark event in Sino-Filipino relations, the hijacking of a Philippines airliner by six students, who diverted it to China. Those illicit airborne arrivals were greeted with considerably more leniency than our present-day drug couriers enjoy.

Seventy-two more Philippines nationals are reportedly under sentence of death in China for drug crimes(or not), and around 120 more for various offenses throughout the world.

On this day..

6 thoughts on “2011: Three Philippines drug mules in China

  1. A 27 year old Chinese woman was arrested at the Mactan-Cebu Airport for reportedly smuggling 4.5 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (more popularly known as “shabu” in the Philippines. This alleged Chinese drug mule is lucky in the sense that the Philippines has yet to reinstate the death penalty although she is liable to be sentenced with life imprisonment under our present laws.

  2. It looks like we’re going to read more cases of Filipinos being executed for drug trafficking charges gracing these pages. There was one nabbed in Malaysia in November last year, and another one arrested in Indonesia, just days after the three above were executed in China–both of them women. There is another one in China who was given the death sentence without reprieve, who might be nearing the exhaustion of his appeals. Pretty soon, we’ll become numb to all these executions.

    I am appalled at what my country is coming to.

  3. Pingback: Philippines-China tensions rise after executions : Infowars Ireland

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  5. The mood here in Metro Manila is rather normal. It is however in our print and electronic media (radio and tv) where there is a continuing coverage of the families and friends of these three executed Filipinos and the bereavement they are going through at the moment. Sentiments have been raised about the harshness of the Chinese judicial process. Vows have been made to go after the illegal recruiters of the executed ones, who were OFW’s (Overseas Filipino Workers) when they were still alive. Some relatives blame the government for alleged lack of support for the convicts. The newspapers carry poignant banner stories, like Sally Villanueva’s comment, “Mamatay na ba ako ngayon?” (Am I going to die today?) upon seeing her relatives in her cell yesterday morning. This sums up the prevailing mood in Metro Manila following the execution of our three compatriots yesterday.

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