Filipina gets death sentence in Indonesia for drug trafficking PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 October 2010 15:37

A Filipino woman found in possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin was sentenced to death on October 11 by an Indonesian lower court, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) belatedly reported on Tuesday

And while the Filipina is appealing for a more lenient treatment with the help of the Philippine embassy in Jakarta, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reiterated for the umpteenth time its warning for travelers to be wary and alert against being duped into becoming drug mules or couriers.

DFA has already informed the Filipina's relatives in the Philippines. The Embassy said its officers visited the imprisoned woman and is working with lawyers on her appeal.

The Yogyakarta court ignored the State Prosecutor’s earlier petition for life imprisonment for the Filipina and went ahead with the death sentence.

She was arrested by Indonesia's Customs and Excise authorities at the Audisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta on April 25.

Aside from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, the United States are among other countries which have also sentenced a number of Filipino women to life imprisonment or death for trafficking illegal drugs.

In early September, DFA reported that China sentenced five Filipinos to "death penalty without reprieve."

DFA “clarified” that its understanding of Chinese laws is that “death penalty without reprieve does not mean a sentenced person is in death row.”

Aside from the five cases, there are 70 with death penalty cases with two-year reprieve, 35 cases given life imprisonment, 68 with fixed-term imprisonment, and 27 with pending cases in China.

DFA said that in Asia, Filipinos are involved in a total of 302 known drug-related cases, pointing out that 205 of these are in China alone.

Of the Asian cases, 221 were committed by women, buttressing observations that women are more easily victimized into becoming drug couriers than men. In most of the cases, the Filipinos claimed to have been recruited as mules.

Mules are described as travelers who agreed, willfully or otherwise, to carry illegal substances in their luggage or bodies to a forward destination abroad, where they are minded by syndicate operators. In a few cases, pregnant women acted as couriers in the false belief that immigration authorities at entry points will be sympathetic to them.

Drug trafficking of 50 and more grams of illegal drugs is punishable with either 15 years in prison, life imprisonment or death in China.

In contrast, the Shariah law in Muslim countries condemns to death any form of drug trafficking.

"We warn our countrymen from carrying drugs when traveling overseas and especially not to accept packages which they suspect contain drugs, and also to be wary of the 'modus operandi' being used by drug-trafficking syndicates,” DFA’s Esteban Conejos Jr. said.

“If they are caught, they will face very dire circumstances," he said.

"The Philippines is doing everything to arrest the drug menace, and with the cooperation of all, we hope that we can eradicate it once and for all.

"But ultimately, our people must take full responsibility for their actions by always being on guard against the inducements," Conejos added.

The DFA has requested the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to continue its operations and redouble its efforts amid increasing involvement of Filipino women as drug mules.

Conejos added that the Philippines is undertaking comprehensive and proactive measures to address the "drug mules" issue and to prevent the further victimization of Filipinos by international drug syndicates.