Chinese Ambassador appeals for Filipinos’ understanding

CHINESE Ambassador to the Philippines Liu Jianchao on Thursday appealed for understanding after Beijing announced the date of execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking in China.

“This is something that has to happen in accordance with the Chinese law so we hope the understanding from the Philippine public and also the Philippine government with regards to this,” Liu said in an interview during the construction launch of the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City led by President Benigno Aquino III.

The Chinese court decided with finality the executions of Ramon Credo, 42; Elizabeth Batain, 38; and Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, 32 on March 30 for smuggling more than 4,000 to 6,000 grams of heroin.

The Chinese government will assist the families of the three Filipinos to visit them before the executions, Liu said.

“The Chinese government will do everything that it can to provide visitations to the relatives and officials of these criminals so that they can visit the people and also we hope that everything will be smoothed out in the end,” he said.

Despite China’s decision, Liu said the Chinese government still hoped for “friendly” relations with the Philippines.

“I just to reiterate that the Chinese people take very friendly approach towards our Filipino friends… I don’t want [the executions affect] our bilateral relations which came to be in the interest of our two countries,” Liu said.

He said he has yet to receive the “letter of appeal” from Vice President Jejomar Binay but he said the Chinese government acknowledges the efforts of Binay and Aquino on appealing for the lives of the three convicts.

Liu admitted that there have been some initiatives from the Philippine government for a prisoner swap but he stressed that this remains a complicated issue.

“We have some kind of differences in our legal systems,” he said.

He added that the dialogue and efforts in finding out the possibilities of having such a treaty based on the mutual concern or mutual benefit should still be continued.

“While we are very open to such an initiative, so we continue to have consultations and dialogue with the Philippine government. I can’t give you a date but it really depends on how far and how soon the consultations will be going on,” he said.

Liu also confirmed that Beijing is working on the state visit of President Aquino to China.

“We hope he (Aquino) will be in China as soon as possible, because we take this chance as perfect opportunity to strengthen our bilateral relations. Our relations are in very good shape so we want to make it more beneficial to the people of our two countries,” he said.

“I hope that our leadership will work hard together to bring our nations into a very bright future,” he added.

Bargain letter

Binay has reportedly drafted a “bargain letter” to be sent to China as last-ditch appeal for the safety of the three Filipinos.

However, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Palace has yet to be informed about the said letter.

Lacierda said their understanding was the letter will be a “letter of appeal.”

“I am not sure if the (bargain) letter has been drafted. I am not sure what the Vice President had in mind. It would be best to consult the Vice President because he was the one who went to China and he would be more knowledgeable about the idea of the letter,” he said.

Asked if the Philippine government is still hoping for commutation, the Palace official said: “What we were made to understand that it was only the postponement of the execution. But certainly we would prefer more positive outcome but we are aware of the situation.”

There is still no instruction whether the President will be sending Binay back to China.

 

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