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FIRING LINE: Thumbs down to China executions

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

This is not a fair game when it comes to diplomacy and accountability with China. While our nation is inundated with tons of illegal drugs, primarily crystal methamphetamine or “shabu,” flowing in from China, our Asian neighbor takes an unyielding stance.

Last November 24, China executed two Filipinos for drug smuggling. Quickly, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace S. Barbers fires back with a call for the reimposition of the death penalty for serious drug-related offenses.

Heading the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, the good congressman argues that the death penalty could be the deterrent needed to stem the relentless tide of drugs from China. House Bill No. 1543, currently under scrutiny in the House Justice Committee, seeks to reinstate capital punishment specifically for heinous crimes like drug-related offenses.

I am not a supporter of the death penalty, knowing well in my bones that life is a sacred gift no one else but the Creator has the right to take away. But let’s understand what disturbs the spirit of Cong. Barbers. 

While acknowledging the diplomatic efforts made by the Philippine government to commute the sentences of the executed Filipinos, Rep. Barbers raises a critical point: the unequal footing between China and the Philippines in enforcing their laws.

He questions China’s selective execution, wondering why no Chinese national has faced the ultimate penalty for drug trafficking despite the origin of the drugs infiltrating our shores. It is truly disheartening. In his words, Barbers argues: “While China was very hard on drug trafficking, the drugs that come to our shores originate from its ports… we have yet to see one Chinese convict being executed to deter others from committing such heinous a crime.”

Is it really a break-up year?

In a spectacular first-time display of political disharmony, Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio has gracefully contradicted the amnesty program and peace talks proposed by her very own President, Bongbong Marcos.

In a video statement that could rival last Friday’s KathNiel break-up drama, Inday Sara labeled Marcos’s commitment to peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) as an “agreement with the devil.”

She not-so-subtly implored her sworn election and political partner, Marcos, to reconsider his strategy, urging him to review the proclaimed amnesty and agreements. It seems the Vice President is more a fan of his father’s policy towards the communists and has no room in her heart to witness the administration she belongs to now, cozying up to the supposed “enemies.”

In this political theater, it appears the winning tandem might need some script revisions to get their acts in sync. The question now: Was KathNiel the real big break-up this year, or is BBM-Sara on track to steal the spotlight with the most riveting political plot twist of the millennium?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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