Tuesday, January 18, 2011

DFA: Filipina sentenced to life imprisonment in Indonesia on drug charges

A Filipino woman was sentenced to life imprisonment in Indonesia earlier this month after being convicted in a drug case, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.

After the conviction of the woman, who was not named by the DFA, the agency reiterated its warning to Filipinos against becoming "drug mules" or those who smuggle drugs to other countries.

"The Filipina was apprehended by officers last 12 July 2010 at the Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali on an Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur. She was found carrying 2.4 kilograms of heroin," the DFA said in a news release posted on its website.

The DFA said the sentencing took place before the lower court of Denpasar in Bali, Indonesia on January 6.

The DFA said the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta provided legal representation to the Filipina in her court appearances.

The DFA-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (DFA-OUMWA) also communicated regularly with the Filipina's family in the Philippines, the DFA added.

Stiff penalties

Meanwhile, the DFA-OUMWA reminded the public about the stiff penalties imposed by other countries on anyone caught carrying illegal drugs.

"In China, drug trafficking of 50 grams or more of illegal drugs is punishable by 15 years in prison, life imprisonment, or death. In Muslim countries, drug trafficking is punishable by death, according to the Shariah law," the DFA said.

According to the DFA, there are 208 drug-related cases in China at present. Around 36 of the jailed Filipinos were meted with life sentences while 72 others were given fixed-term imprisonment. About 19 cases are still pending.

Six Filipinos have been meted the death penalty without reprieve. About 73 other individuals have been meted the death penalty with a two-year reprieve.

If the convict shows good behaviour within the two-year period, the sentence is automatically committed to life imprisonment.

The DFA said Filipinos should be very wary of the modus operandi being used by drug-trafficking syndicates.

The agency advised Filipinos traveling overseas not to accept packages which they suspect to contain drugs.

"The Philippine government is undertaking comprehensive and proactive measures to address the 'drug mules' issue and to prevent the further victimization of Filipinos by international drug syndicates," the DFA said.

The DFA added that these measures are being implemented together with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other key government agencies. – VVP, GMANews.TV

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