Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 1 News List

China turns down ‘mercy mission’ from Philippines

AFP, MANILA

China has declined a visit from Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay to ask for mercy for a Filipino on death row, and said the man’s execution would not be delayed, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

The 35-year-old from the Philippines is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, after he was caught at an airport in 2008 trying to smuggle about 1.5kg of heroin into China from Malaysia.

“We have also been informed that the Chinese side is unable to arrange the visit of Vice President Binay to China at this time. We respect the Chinese law and the verdict of the Supreme People’s Court,” the department said in a statement.

“We are still hoping that Vice President Binay [will] be allowed by the Chinese authorities to go to Beijing to personally hand over the letter of appeal of [Philippine] President [Benigno] Aquino,” it added.

In a separate statement, Binay said: “I remain optimistic. I feel that Beijing has not totally closed its doors to my visit so I can personally hand over the appeal of President Aquino.”

The Philippines said earlier this week that it planned to send Binay to China to ask that the man’s death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.

Binay went on a mission to China in February to save three Filipino drug mules from death row and secured a temporary stay of execution, but Beijing went ahead with the executions a month later.

That triggered widespread condemnation in the Catholic Philippines, where capital punishment was abolished in 2006.

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