OFW group happy with China decision, lauds VP; Calls for vigilance for other OFWs in death row

Migrante International extended its gratitude to the Chinese government for agreeing to defer the execution of three Filipino nationals scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection on Monday and Tuesday.

Migrante International also lauded Vice President Jejomar Binay for successfully leading the team that went to China in a last ditch effort to  save the lives of Filipinos Sally Villanueva, Ramon Credo and Elizabeth Batain.

“This is a diplomatic victory for the nation and we attribute it to the vigilance, prayers and collective action of all concerned Filipino citizens who contributed to the resounding call to save the lives of our kababayans,” said Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson.

Martinez said that while we all heave a sigh of relief and celebrate with the families of the three, there is still a need for the Philippine government to make clear the terms and conditions of the deferment. “Have their sentences been commuted? How long is the suspension, is it just a matter of days, months, years? Will this affect the fate of at least 190 others in China jails for the same offenses?”

“Let us also not forget that there are still others in death row who continue to appeal to the government for much-needed attention and intervention,” he said.

In a press conference held today at the Migrante International office, families of OFWs in death row and in jail appealed to the Philippine government to also act in haste for their relatives.

Migrante is presently handling the cases of eight (8) OFWs in death row and 121 in jail (13 of which are drug-related cases). According to Garry Martinez, Migrante International chairperson, since 2005, six (6) OFWs whose cases they have handled have been executed via beheading.

Some of the OFWs in jail for drug-related offenses, mostly in the Middle East where death penalty is in practice, have not been provided legal assistance and representation by the Philippine government. (please see attached).

According to Migrante’s monitoring, there are currently 125 OFWs in death row. Of the 125, 85 are drug-related and 79 of these are in China jails. The rest are in the Middle East, Malaysia and Thailand.

Martinez said that daily actions meant for Villanueva, Credo and Batain will go on as planned “this time to bring to the government’s attention the cases of other OFWs in death row.”:

February 19 – press conference of families of other OFWs in death row, 10:30am, Migrante International Office, 45 Cambridge St, Cubao, QC

February 20 – whole day of prayers/thanksgiving, 7:30pm candle-lighting and mass, Baclaran Redemptorist Church

February 21 – Rally to “No to another Flor Contemplacion! Save the lives of OFWs in death row!”, Plaza Miranda, Manila

Migrante and its chapters worldwide are gearing for internationally-coordinated protests against government abandonment and attacks on the rights and welfare of OFWs on March 17, death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion. ###