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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, February 21, 2011
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‘Drug mule’ kin to
seek king’s mercy

BY CARLA GOMEZ

The parents of a Bacoleña jailed in Bangkok, Thailand, who may have unwittingly been made a “drug mule” by a syndicate, are opting to write the King of Thailand, Bhumibol Adulyadej, to appeal for clemency for their daughter.

This was disclosed yesterday by Nede Talaban, mother of Flory May Talaban, 28, who is serving a life sentence at the Correctional Institute for Female Offenders in Bangkok, Thailand, for possession of illegal drugs.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra yesterday called for prayers for the three Filipinos facing death penalties for possession of drugs in China, whose executions have been postponed, and for Talaban.

Navarra said, “As we pray for their fates, let also pray for the conversion of the people concerned whose callous conscience led or even forced the Filipinos to commit the crimes imputed to them.”

He said Talaban’s case should be an eye-opener for everyone, and an investigation should be conducted on how she got involved in the crime charged against her.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said the city government will do everything it can to help Talaban, pointing out that its Sectoral Concerns Office has been following up her case.

He said probably funds can be raised to help Talaban’s parents go to Thailand to see her.

Nede and her husband, Florentino Talaban, yesterday met with Bayan Rep. Neri Colmenares who relayed to them the options they can take and the possibility of their going to Bangkok to visit their daughter.

Colmenares said Flory May has to consent to having her parents write the king for pardon.

The solon said he is working to bring the Talaban couple to Manila to meet with DFA officials, and eventually to go with him to Bangkok, but the House allocation of funds for the trip still needs the approval of House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Lawyer Enrico Fos, Office of the DFA Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs special assistant, told the DAILY STAR Friday, that a DFA representative in Thailand last week presented Flory May with two options available and they are waiting for her to decide.

The options are for her parents to write the King of Thailand to appeal for clemency, which is allowed under the Thai criminal justice system, or for her to apply for prison transfer to the Philippines where she can serve out the rest of her sentence, Fos said.

A DFA report said Talaban was arrested on May 3, 2009 after Thai police found 2.6 kilograms of heroin hidden in the front and back cover of books inside a plastic bag that she was carrying at the time.

An additional 2.8 kilograms of the same drug were found in a Bangkok apartment where she voluntarily led the Thai police, it added.

The Thai Court found Talaban guilty for “possession of a Category 1 illegal narcotic (heroin) with intent to sell.”

Flory May was a political science graduate of the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod City, studying for a law degree in 2005 when a friend invited her to work in China as a teacher.

Her parents later learned that she had been arrested and convicted in Thailand.*CPG

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