#ClemencyPH Duterte urged to seek clemency for all OFWs on death row

Migrante International today urged President Rodrigo Duterte to seek clemency for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row, especially the innocent and those who were not given proper legal assistance by the previous administration.

Duterte is set to arrive in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today to seek audience with King Salman. Before he left, he vowed to bring home OFWs on Saudi death row. Malacanang, however, through Sec. Abella, announced yesterday that the president will not be bringing up the plight of OFWs on death row with the King.

Migrante-Saudi Arabia and members of the Filipino community will take up the appeal for OFWs on Saudi death row when they meet with the President today.

Today, April 12, is also the the date of the UAE Court of Appeal’s hearing on the case of Jennifer Dalquez, a Filipina domestic worker who killed her employer in self-defense for attempting to rape and kill her.  The court has called on the two children of Jennifer’s deceased employer to attend today’s hearing, where they will be asked to swear 50 times in the name of Allah that Jennifer killed their father. If this happens, the UAE Court of Appeals will uphold the death sentence on Jennifer today.

Jennifer’s supporters will hold a candle-lighting vigil later at the Boy Scout Circle in Timog in anticipation of the outcome of the court hearing. Jennifer’s family and supporters will also be holding candle-lighting vigils in Davao City and General Santos in Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Court of Appeals recently issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the scheduled deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia. Mary Jane’s lawyers filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the PH Court of Appeals last Monday, April 10, to lift the TRO. Mary Jane is supposed to deliver her deposition on April 27.

April 29 marks the second year anniversary of Mary Jane’s temporary reprieve from execution.

Migrante expressed alarm over the PH Court of Appeals’ decision as that this might deliver a negative message to the Indonesian government. “It has been two years, the Indonesian government has been lenient enough, patiently allowing for Philippine legal processes to take its course. This development may not bode well (with the Indonesian government). Justice delayed is justice denied in the case of the TRO on Mary Jane’s deposition. We call on the PH Court of Appeals to lift the TRO and allow Mary Jane to give her full testimony once and for all,” said Arman Hernando, Migrante spokesperson.

“In the spirit of the Holy Week, we urge President Duterte to actively appeal for mercy and compassion for our kababayans, especially the innocent and those who were not given proper legal assistance by the previous administration. The first OFW executed under the Duterte administration, Jakatia Pawa, had a strong case to prove her innocence but was deprived of legal assistance by the previous administration. Jennifer and Mary Jane’s cases attest to the need for active government intervention in saving the lives of innocent OFWs on death row,” Hernando said.

There are currently 81 OFWs on death row, according to latest data from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Migrante called on families and supporters of OFWs on death row to come forward to collectively appeal to President Duterte to seek clemency for their loved ones.

“Clemency for all OFWs on death row” will be one of the main calls of Migrante International in the upcoming Labor Day rally on May 1. ###