29 May 2012– The Office of the Vice President said today that three Filipinos were spared the death penalty after they received pardons from the Sabah Pardons Board, citing reports from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The Pardons Board handed down a decision commuting the death sentence of Basir Omar to "life imprisonment less one-third" (or 13 years and 7 months) on May 22. The new sentence will commence its counting from the date of pardon.

In another case, the death sentences for Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadani were reduced to 15 years in prison in a decision rendered on May 14 in Kota Kinabalu.

The two were arrested on 8 July 2008 in Kota Kinabalu when police found 867.1 grams of cannabis in their bags, and were sentenced to death by the Sabah High Court on 25 June 2010.

Vice President Binay conveyed his appreciation to the Malaysian Government, particularly Sabah Governor and Pardons Board Chairman Tun Datuk Seri Haji Juhar for the merciful and considerate gesture.

In January this year, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Tun Datuk Seri Panglima, and requested for his intervention to commute the death sentences of six Filipinos, including the three.

However, Vice President Binay also cautioned Filipinos in Malaysia not to be lured by criminal syndicates into becoming drug mules or to engage in the illegal drug trade.