26 years after: The execution of Flor Contemplacion in Singapore remembered

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO:  Filipina maid Flor Contemplacion, shown here in an undated photo, was hanged in Singapore, 17 March, according to a prison official.  Efforts by the Philippine government, including an appeal by President Fidel Ramos for clemency, were rejected by Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong. Contemplacion was found guilty by a Singapore court of murdering another maid and a four-year-old boy in 1991. (Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Filipina maid Flor Contemplacion, shown here in an undated photo, was hanged in Singapore, 17 March, according to a prison official. Efforts by the Philippine government, including an appeal by President Fidel Ramos for clemency, were rejected by Singapore President Ong Teng Cheong. Contemplacion was found guilty by a Singapore court of murdering another maid and a three-year-old boy in 1991. (Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images)

On 17 March 1995, Filipino domestic worker Flor Contemplacion, 42, was executed at the Changi Women’s Prison and Drug Rehabilitation Center in Singapore.

The execution sparked mass protests and a diplomatic row between Singapore and the Philippines.

20 years later, it moved then presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte to tell a crowd in 2015, "I burned the flag of Singapore. I said: 'F*** you ... You are a garrison pretending to be a country.”

About the case

Delia Maga, a fellow domestic worker, was found strangled to death on 4 May 1991. Nicholas Huang, a three-year-old boy under the care of Maga, was also discovered drowned.

Singapore police connected Contemplacion to the deaths through a diary that Maga kept. During interrogation, she confessed to the murders of Maga and Huang.

Contemplacion was sentenced to death by hanging.

FILE PHOTO: Protesters burn Singaporean flags during a rally, Saturday, March 25, 1995 near the Presidential palace in Manila to protest the execution in Singapore of Filipino maid, Flor Contemplacion. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)
FILE PHOTO: Protesters burn Singaporean flags during a rally, Saturday, March 25, 1995 near the Presidential palace in Manila to protest the execution in Singapore of Filipino maid, Flor Contemplacion. (AP Photo/Pat Roque)

Aftermath

Protests erupted across the Philippines following Contemplacion’s execution.

One of the protests was led by then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who burned a Singapore flag while leading a protest by city hall employees.

FILE PHOTO: Philippine presidential race front-runner Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte talks to the crowd during his final campaign rally in Manila, Philippines on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
FILE PHOTO: Philippine presidential race front-runner Davao city mayor Rodrigo Duterte talks to the crowd during his final campaign rally in Manila, Philippines on Saturday, May 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Duterte would later recall his actions during his presidential campaign, uttering his controversial remark.

His spokesperson would later say that Duterte’s remark was meant to be a joke.