[ Laziness alert : Even less than the usual 5% of all the sentences here are backed up by research, statistics or catatonic Googling or use of other search engines. If you want an entertaining read, please sample The Emperor’s Last Parade, the new e-book of my friend Fer Cao by clicking on this link, it’s a modern-day twist on a well-loved fairy tale. Reviews very welcome, and by the way, the e-book is free until midnight today! ]
OO NA (yes I know) she’d been a drug mule 16 previous times, oo na her crime would’ve made life miserable for thousands and thousands of drug addicts (who would’ve gotten their fix elsewhere anyway) and oo na, she was literally sealing her doom by bringing a maleta-load (thirteen kilos!) of heroin to a country well known for executing more people annually than the rest of the world’s governments, combined.
And yet, I dare to raise an interesting conspiracy theory question : if the drug mule was not a Pinay kabayan but a Caucasian from the US, the UK or even Australia, would the conviction, the affirmation (of the “guilty” decision) and the dismissal of the appeal be as resoundingly in favor of keeping the Pinay’s appointment with the Grim Reaper?
As warned above, I would rather that you not rely on anything here as hard data or statistical reference. But I’ve noticed that while at least four Filipinos have been executed in China after their death sentences were affirmed, none of around 28 death sentences in the last few years (imposed on Pinoys) have been reversed, or overturned. I hope I’m wrong, and I hope for justice’s sake they really did courier the drugs, but are we a suki (or regular customer) for death row because (1) we don’t belong to the First World and (2) and we don’t possess any economic clout with the world’s largest economy?
[ And note that we’re not even gonna mention the current Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal brouhaha between us and China. ]
It’s pretty well-known in both criminology and legal discussions that the less legal assistance and representation you can afford, the greater the chance you will be convicted, whether you’re guilty or not, and relatedly, the greater the chance you will get the maximum penalty. It’s unfair, but a fact of life.
I’m extending this to a state-to-state level : the smaller the state, and the smaller its economy, the greater the chance its nationals committing capital crimes will be executed.
How many times have you heard of our kabayan getting beheaded, garroted, shot not just in China but in Malaysia, Singapore and the Middle East as well? More than just a few times this century I’ll bet, and I’m sure you can count on your one hand the times a kabayan was literally snatched from the jaws of death. In fact (no names here) I can remember someone who did it, begged the head of state for a pardon on the condemned’s behalf, and later made it the pillar of his political campaign. And you know what? I don’t blame him.
On the other hand, how many times have you heard of US servicemen after committing rapes, pedophilia and other interesting crimes not just in the Philippines but all over the world being convicted, having their sentences commuted from death to life (or life to a lower sentence) then being sent home to serve their sentence ? And of course, never to be heard from again? Start counting. 🙂
I don’t condemn death-penalty nations from using the draconian laws as a deterrent and as an example for other future or potential offenders. In fact, I know how vicious and destructive drug abuse is not just to the individual, but to their families and to communities as well.
It’s just that I fear that in many places a double standard exists and countries like the Philippines are on the losing end, because frankly, countries like China have little to lose if they apply the fullest extent of the law against criminals from small fry like ourselves.
If a high-profile offender from the US, Europe or big country gets into trouble abroad, every kind of legal assistance will be given him by his embassy, and the local authorities will 9 times out of ten treat him with kid gloves. No matter what the crime is.
When one of our own gets caught overseas as a drug mule or sex crime, expect him at best to languish in prison while he gets the third degree and worst penalty, affirmed all the way to the host country’s supreme court. At worst, he or she will mysteriously die in prison.
And why? Take your pick : no money, no honey. Money talks. Or, your credit is good but we need cash.
We may be the nurses, construction workers, caregivers and IT engineers of the world, but no doubt about it, we are the small fish in a big pond of big, fat fish.
Kawawa naman po tayo.
- our kabayan shines in NZ via sushi (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- Death Penalty: How Does Pennsylvania Feel? (local.answers.com)
- PNoy sends VP to China to plead for Pinay’s life (manilastandardtoday.com)
- even for shortchanged migrants, NZ continues to improve employment outcomes (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- readjustment bureau (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- why independence day 2013 worked for me, thanks to our embassy in Wellington (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)
- The First OFW (ylbnoel.wordpress.com)