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Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 06:03 GMT 07:03 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Philippine execution blocked

The Philipppine president, Joseph Estrada, has blocked the execution of a woman convicted of drug-trafficking.

Mr Estrada said he would commute the sentence because the woman Josefina Esparas was - as he put it - a carrier and not the mastermind of the operation.

The president said the decision was recommended by an advisory conscience committee, which reviews death sentences approved by the Supreme Court.

Correspondents say Mr Estrada's decision is likely to cause an uproar among anti-crime groups, which have already criticised his granting of reprieves to other convicts scheduled for execution.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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