Manila, Philippines – While the postponement of the execution of 3 Filipino drug mules has been called a diplomatic triumph for the Philippines, some experts of international law are wary of the possible concessions that China may demand in exchange.
Their concern were made more worrisome by the fact that China has yet to declare the terms of the postponement.
“Espesyal tayo, pero ano ang hihingin sating kapalit? Doon ako nangangamba. May kasabihan nga sa pandaigdigang politika, walang libreng tanghalian,” said international relations expert Dr. Renato de Castro.
He explained that because of the agreement, the Philippines was placed in a precarious position where Beijing can demand payback at any time.
China is currently disputing the Philippines’ claim on the Spratly Islands, while many Chinese nationals are also languishing in Manila’s jails.
“Nakita nila ang kahinaan natin. ilang pilipino lang pwede na tayong lumuhod,” de Castro said.
According to another expert of international law, Chinese law only permits a maximum 2-year reprieve for people in death row.
During these two years, the sentenced may prove that he or she is capable of reform and may then be eligible for a punishment less than death.
However, it is still unclear whether this provision applies to Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Ramon Credo, and Elizabeth Batain.
“Kung may reprieve, dapat noon pa. The imposable penalty is still death… can be one day, one month, one year, but never more than 2 years,” said lawyer Howard Calleja.
He added that one way to commute the sentence of the 3 is if Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao himself orders the commutation.
But until things remain unclear, Calleja said neither the government nor the people have reason to rejoice just yet. – Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News; ANC