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The Chinese government on Friday ordered a stay of execution for the three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking.
This came after Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay went to Beijing and held talks with Chinese officials to seek leniency for the three convicts.
Ramon “Monchito” Credo, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, and Elizabeth Batain have been convicted of drug trafficking in China.
In a joint statement, the Philippines “expressed its sincere appreciation to China for the decision of the SPC (Supreme People’s Court) to postpone the execution within the scope of Chinese law.”
The joint statement said the “Chinese side briefed the Vice President on the final verdict of the Supreme People’s Court on the three (3) Filipinos sentenced to death for drug trafficking and the decision of the SPC to postpone the execution within the scope of Chinese law.”
Binay met with the following Chinese officials and members of their staff: H.E. Mr. Dai Bingguo, State Councillor, H.E. Mr. Wang Shengjun, President of the Supreme People’s Court and H.E. Mr. Zhang Zhijun, Executive Vice Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The joint statement said, “The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of issues concerning bilateral relations, including judicial cooperation. The two sides expressed the determination to work together and make joint efforts in further strengthening the relationship of strategic cooperation.”
The two countries also said they “are determined to work together in the fight against transnational crimes, including drug trafficking.”
Jollibee Foods Corp., the country’s largest fastfood company, plans to expand its market in China this year, executives said on Friday.
The listed food service giant will build 60 new stores in China, which accounts for the bulk of the company’s international expansion efforts. “Our foregoing expansion priorities are still in China. We are still looking in India and Indonesia,” Jollibee Foods Chairman and Chief Executive Tony Tan Caktiong told reporters after the company’s annual stockholders meeting in Ortigas Center.
“We are already in Vietnam. In Europe, we do not have particular plans yet but we have a lot of inquiries,” Mr. Tan Caktiong added.
The company will spend P600 million of a P4.8-billion capital outlay this year on 60 new stores in China, Ysmael V. Baysa, chief financial officer of Jollibee Foods, told reporters. Furthermore, 40 new stores will be built in other foreign countries, Mr. Baysa added.
In the Philippines, Jollibee Foods will open 100 new stores. For pizza chain Greenwich, Jollibee Foods will set up 30 new stores, while Chinese fastfood chain Chowking will open 40 new stores. “For both Greenwich and Chowking, we have been focusing on renovation in the past six months becaiuse it helps boost same-store sales,” Chowking and Greenwich President Ariel P. Fermin told reporters.
Jollibee Foods had recorded higher profits due to election spending in the first two quarters. “The trend is that the second quarter is stronger than the first quarter. We think it must be caused by election spending,” Mr. Baysa said. In the first quarter, system-wide retail sales, a measure of sales from both company-owned and franchised stores, rose by 8.4% to P16.3 billion year-on-year.
However, Mr. Baysa said the company is being “challenged” by higher commodity prices of sugar and dairy products like milk and cheese.
The listed firm operates the largest quick-service restaurant network in the Philippines with a total of 1,569 stores in the country. There are 692 Jollibee stores nationwide, 401 Chowking Chinese restaurants, 227 Greenwich pizza houses, 211 Red Ribbon bakeries, 24 Delifrance pastry outlets, and 14 Manong Pepe restaurants.
Jollibee also has 334 stores abroad: 165 Yonghe King outlets in China; 55 Jollibee stores mostly in the United States, Vietnam and Brunei; 35 Red Ribbon branches in the US; 33 Chowking outlets in Dubai and the US; and 46 Hong Zhuang Yuan branches in China.
In May, the homegrown fastfood giant signed a partnership with the local master franchisee of Caffe Ti-Amo, a Korean restaurant offering coffee and gelato in a casual dining format. The partners will invest P10 million to put up 10 coffee and gelato stores this year.
Shares in Jollibee Foods, whose profits went up by 14.6% to P2.66 billion last year, rose to P70 apiece on Friday from P69.50 on Thursday. — Neil Jerome C. Morales