Three Filipino citizens separately arrested in China and convicted of drug trafficking will be meted the death penalty today. Elizabeth Batain, 38, Ramon Credo, 42, and Sally Villanueva, 33 will face China's harsh punishment for drug trafficking.
Unfortunately, the Philippine government cannot intervene in the judicial process of a sovereign state.
And worse, the lessons implied by the fate of these Filipinos reflect the state of poverty of our countrymen, the extent of drug syndicates' operations in and out of the country, and the quality of protection our government provides for the Filipino people.
Apalling dimensions of poverty continue to haunt our people, both in the urban and rural areas. Lack of food, shelter, education, and livelihood are some of the most common experiences. In this situation, hundreds of thousands Filipinos have opted to work abroad in the hope of a better life. Unfortunately, it is also at this point when predators such as trafficking syndicates descend upon our impoverished people. And so many of our poor people indeed become captive preys, devoured and torn to pieces.
At the same time, we realize the extent of drug abuse problem in this situation. It is not a problem that is localized in the Philippines. It goes beyond borders. In fact some drug syndicates may even parallel perhaps the leading transnational corporations in the scope and extent of their operations. It is not also a problem that is concentrated on one sector. It transcends social stratification.
And even the government is affected when you have a lawmaker caught overseas with illegal drugs!It is not surprising then that "narco-politics" and even the prospects of a "narco-state" is becoming a very clear, alarming scenario for the Philippines.
The fate of Credo, Batain, and Villanueva reflects the quality of protection the government provide our citizens. In the Philippines, we cannot prevent drug syndicates from smuggling drug mules out thru our airports and sea ports. And when the Filipino citizens exploited by these syndicates are trapped in other countries, we go begging for mercy!
When will this cruel cycle end? How many more will have to die in foreign soil before we become more competent in protecting our citizens?