No false hopes
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
For the families of the three Filipinos who are now death row convicts in China, the delay in their execution that Vice President Jejomar Binay managed to obtain from the court must have brought great feelings of relief, considering that it came at practically the last hours. So they are still alive and will not be executed this week as originally scheduled.
But do they have reason to rejoice over the concession? Note that postponement only involves the time when they will be put to death, and, as some experts in international law have disclosed, there is very little chance that the sentence will be commuted at this point. This is not like a preliminary investigation or even a trial where a postponement could lead to anything, including a dismissal of the charges, an amicable settlement or mediation, or the method that seems to have been newly discovered by our courts, plea bargaining.
In the case of the three prisoners who have been convicted of the ultimate in crime in most countries, the other party, their accuser is the government of China itself whose courts are not known for leniency against drug traffickers, pushers and even users.
Even Binay himself, who has returned after his humanitarian mission, cannot say how much time he has earned for the convicts. Reports say that as far as the Chinese courts are concerned, the longest time given to delay implementation of a sentence is two years. At this point, only the President can order a commutation, and this does not seem likely for a drug-related case.
Therefore, while we heed the appeals of our officials to pray for our fellow Filipinos who are now facing what seems to be an uncertain relief, but a certain conclusion, we should also hope that their experience teaches a strong lesson to others of our countrymen and women who may be gullible, or so greedy for money that they agree to risk this kind of punishment that affects not only themselves, but their families and their fellow Filipinos as well.
The saying may be trite, and treated with mockery by some, but it is still true to this day: Crime does not pay.*