Gov’t to assist jailed Pinay in Kota, but…

MANILA, Philippines — The government will provide legal assistance to a Filipina arrested for trafficking shabu in Sabah, but will let the law “take its course” if she is found guilty of the charges against her, Malacañang said yesterday.

The Filipina may be sentenced to death after she was allegedly caught with more than 5.9 kilos of shabu at a house in Sabah.

The 32-year-old Filipina was nabbed by Malaysian authorities during an early morning raid last Tuesday, according to previous reports.

The illegal drugs, which have an estimated value of more than P3 million, are said to be owned by a man who remains at large.

“The government will provide her with free legal assistance to protect her rights as she is a Filipino citizen. She could be an innocent courier and not a drug pusher or drug trafficker,” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement yesterday.

The Duterte administration, known for its brutal war against illegal drugs, could avail itself of legal remedies available under the Malaysian legal system to exonerate the Filipina if she is found guilty unfairly by the court, according to Panelo.

“But if evidence proves that she is deeply involved in drug trafficking, then we will let the law take its course,” the presidential spokesman said.

Last February, Duterte reminded overseas Filipino workers to follow the laws of their host countries, noting that some nations impose death penalty. He said he could not help Filipinos who commit crimes in other countries.

Panelo previously said Duterte could only provide lawyers to Filipinos accused of crime but would not travel to their host country to seek pardon.

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