China turns down Philippine `mercy mission`

Last Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 15:59

Manila: China has refused a visit from the
Philippine vice-president to ask for mercy for a Filipino on
death row, and said the man`s execution will not be delayed,
the Philippine foreign department said on Saturday.

The 35-year-old from the Philippines is scheduled to be
executed on December 8 after he was caught at an airport in
2008 trying to smuggle about 1.5 kilogrammes of heroin into
China from Malaysia.

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

"We are still hoping that Vice President Binay be allowed
by the Chinese authorities to go to Beijing to personally hand
over the letter of appeal of 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 had 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.

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

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 15:59

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