MANILA, Dec. 3, 2011— Catholic Churches will offer Masses on Sunday for a convicted Filipino drug trafficker facing execution in China.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said the Masses would ask for divine intervention for the grant of the Aquino administration’s request to the Chinese government for commutation.
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, CBCP president, has already instructed all the dioceses to offer tomorrow’s Masses for the intention of the Filipino convict scheduled to be executed on December 8.
“We are united with our government leaders in the appeal to the Chinese government for a commutation of death penalty to life imprisonment,” Palma said.
“I already have given instructions to the bishops to ask their priests to offer prayers during the Masses tomorrow for our fellow Filipino set to be executed in China,” he said.
CBCP secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis said the move was also in response to Vice President Jejomar Binay’s request for the CBCP to consider asking all churches to offer a Mass on Sunday for the Filipino convict.
“As a Catholic, I have an unshakable faith in the power of prayer, and if all Filipino Catholics storm the heavens with our common prayer for our ‘kababayan’, miracles can happen,” Binay said in a letter to Palma yesterday.
The Philippine government earlier said that a 35-year old man, who it did not identify, was convicted for smuggling 1.495 kilos of heron in Guangxi, a mountainous Chinese province bordering Vietnam.
The Filipino was nabbed last September 13, 2008 at the Guilin International Airport upon arrival from Malaysia after authorities found heroin in his possession.
On November 28, the Supreme People’s Court in Beijing affirmed a lower’s court’s decision to impose the capital punishment on him.
Media reports revealed that the Chinese authorities consider the decision to execute as final.
But Binay said: “We feel that this decision is just in the judicial level. It is our position that we can appeal for a change in the decision through political avenues starting from President Hu Jintao.”
The CBCP’s Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI) earlier said it will write to the Chinese government to appeal for the commutation of the death sentence on the Filipino drug mule.
ECMI executive secretary Fr. Edwin Corros said the Commission will submit a letter-request to the Chinese government to spare the OFW’s life for humanitarian reasons.
“We are hopeful that the letter to be sent to the Chinese Embassy by the ECMI would be forwarded at the earliest time to Beijing, and that the authorities would consider your appeal, together with the appeal of our President, in a positive light,” Binay said. [Roy Lagarde/CBCPNews]