MANILA — Malaysia’s board of pardons has commuted the death sentence of a convicted Filipino drug smuggler to life imprisonment, the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported on Tuesday.
Jacqueline Quiamno was arrested in June 2005 for smuggling five kilograms of cocaine stashed in her luggage at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Quiamno said she smuggled the cocaine through an African drug syndicate based in Hong Kong.
After the trial, she was handed a guilty verdict by the Shah Alam High Court in November 2010, which was affirmed by the Federal Court in July 2013.
Then on June 15, Malaysia’s Selangor Pardons Board chairman Sultan Shrafuddin Idris Al-Haj reduced Quiamno’s death sentence to life imprisonment following an appeal for clemency by the Philippine Embassy and her family.
The embassy, in a statement, conveyed its “heartfelt appreciation to the Sultan of Selangor and the Selangor Pardons Board for this sterling manifestation of benevolence and compassion.”
Death penalty convictions are referred to the State Pardons Boards headed by the Sultan or Governor of the concerned State.
The pardon board often grants clemency by granting commutation of sentence after a convict has served a long time in prison.
The last execution of a Filipino in Malaysia was 22 years ago, in June 1993. The Filipino was executed for the crime of murder in Sabah.
Death penalty remains in the statute books of Malaysia and local courts continue to impose it in grave offenses, but there has been a reluctance to carry out the execution in recent years.
In October 2012, the Prime Minister’s office said it would look into the possibility of staying the death sentences for drug offenders pending the government’s final decision on the proposal to abolish the mandatory death penalty.
Such deferral, the embassy said, would be a relief for two other Filipinos who were meted the capital punishment also for drug-related offense in Malaysia.
Gerry Saavedra Quijano and couple Timhar and Nurie Ong were arrested for drug smuggling in 2008 and 2005, respectively.