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Highs and lows of VP Binay as presidential adviser on OFW concerns


Before he resigned from President Benigno Aquino III's cabinet, Vice President Jejomar Binay was the presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers' concerns.

Since October 2010, when Binay began serving as OFW-concerns adviser, he had helped in the repatriation of thousands of OFWs and helped prevent the execution of several OFWs, though he was not always successful in the latter.

2010

December 2010: A few months into the post as OFW-concerns adviser, Binay urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to help a Filipina teacher who was to be executed in China for drug trafficking.

In the same month, the vice president revived the idea of an OFW Bank to provide Filipinos abroad a cheaper option for remittance.

2011

March 2011: Following a one-week special visit to the Middle East, Binay helped over 200 Filipinos charged with minor offenses in Kuwait gain amnesty.

But in the same month, Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Ramon Credo, and Elizabeth Batain were executed by lethal injection in China for drug smuggling. Ordinario-Villanueva and Credo were executed in Xiamen, while Batain was executed in Shenzhen.

April 2011: Binay helped repatriate 4,500 overstaying OFWs in Saudi Arabia at the height of Saudization policy.

December 2011: Binay announced the execution of a 35-year-old unnamed Filipino in Liuzhou County, Guangzi, China for drug trafficking.

2012

February 2012: Following the lifting of a ban on au pairs bound for European countries, Binay announced that up to 2,000 au pair deployments would be available in 2012.

The DFA defined an au pair as those between 18 and 30 years old, unmarried and without any children, placed under a cultural exchange arrangement with a European host family for a maximum stay of two years - unless otherwise allowed by the host countries.

May 2012: Binay helped Alfredo Salmos, an OFW in Saudi Arabia who was electrocuted in 2010, get home.

2013

July 2013: A 35-year-old Filipina who was convicted in China for carrying six kilos of heroin in January 2011 was executed.

September 2013: After 13 years, Rodelio Lanuza was saved from death row in Saudi Arabia for killing an Arab national. He was pardoned after he paid SR3 million in blood money through the help of the Philippine government and supporters.

The Saudi Embassy in Manila had said that Lanuza's release was "the result of collective efforts including the coordination and cooperation between the Saudi Embassy in Manila and the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines as H.E. Vice President Jejomar C. Binay, is the Presidential Adviser on OFW Affairs."

2014

February 2014: Joselito Zapanta was executed in Saudi Arabia for the killing Imam Ibrahim over a rental dispute, despite Binay's efforts.

May 2014: Binay promised government assistance for a 23-year-old Filipina worker, who was badly burned after her Saudi employer poured boiling water on her.

December 2014: Carlito Lana was beheaded in Saudi Arabia for killing his Saudi employer in 2010.

2015

According to the latest statistics from the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 89 Filipinos on death row overseas. Most of them are in Saudi Arabia.

  • Saudi Arabia: 27 (26 for murder and one for drugs)
  • Malaysia: 34 (17 for murder, 16 for drug trafficking; 28 cases in Sabah, 6 in Peninsular Malaysia)
  • China: 21 (all for drugs)
  • USA: 2 (both for murder)
  • Vietnam: 2 (both for drugs)
  • Kuwait: 1 (for murder)
  • Indonesia: 1 (for drugs)
  • Thailand: 1 (for murder, rape, and theft)

In March, Joven Esteva, 39, convicted for killing his employer and injuring his employer's son in 2007, was executed in Saudi Arabia.

Binay personally appealed to the Indonesian government to spare Mary Jane Veloso's life. Veloso was later given a reprieve last April 29.

On Tuesday, Marilou Ranario returned home after she was saved from the death penalty in Kuwait. She was detained for 10 years for killing her employer. — Trisha Macas/DVM, GMA News