(Photo by Tim Wu)

Two Filipino nationals were executed in China on November 24 due to drug trafficking cases, according to the foreign affairs department on Saturday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) did not disclose the identities of the two Filipino nationals, but it revealed that they were arrested in 2013.

“We offer our most sincere condolences to their families and loved ones. Out of deference to their wishes, we deferred from announcing this sad development immediately and are withholding the identities of the two Filipinos,” said the DFA on Saturday.

The DFA stated that since the two were apprehended, throughout their trial, and even during their appeal to the higher court in China in 2018, the government provided all possible assistance, including legal assistance funding, through the Philippine Consulate General in Guangzhou and the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs.

The department also stated that the Philippine government made extensive efforts to implore the relevant authorities in the People’s Republic of China to commute their sentences to life imprisonment on humanitarian grounds.

Despite engaging in high-level political representations for this purpose, these endeavors did not yield the desired outcome.

“Our repeated appeals were consistent with the laws and values of our nation, which put the highest premium on human life. In the end, the Chinese government, citing their internal laws, upheld the conviction, and the Philippines must respect China’s criminal laws and legal processes,” said the department.

Additionally, every feasible assistance was extended by the government to the families of the two Filipinos. Recently, the DFA accompanied and assisted the families of those who were visiting Guangzhou out of compassion; this trip was supported by their Assistance to Nationals Fund.

The DFA said that while it is saddened by the execution, it strengthens the government’s resolve to combat drug syndicates preying on vulnerable people seeking better lives.

Illegal drug trade is a major issue that the country must address, especially since these syndicates often target Filipinos in difficult socio-economic circumstances.

It reminded all Filipinos planning to travel abroad to stay vigilant against drug syndicates’ tactics, which involve using unwitting travelers as drug couriers.

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