At least 83 Filpinos abroad are on death row in different countries due to various offenses, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials told the House overseas workers affairs committee this week.
Kabayan party-list Representative Ron Salo, head of the panel, urged the government to provide urgent assistance to the OFWs.
Of the said figure, 56 are in Malaysia while the rest are facing death row in United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, USA, Japan and Brunei.
“It is surprising how many of our Filipinos overseas are facing death row and most of us are not aware of it. The most recent case of Mary Jane Veloso, the only one in Indonesia, wildly agitated our political landscape for quite some time. Now, how do we make of these 83 cases?,” Salo said in a statement.
“Let us never forget that these 83 Filipinos are not just statistics. They represent the lives of our kabayans who have tried to seek better lives for their families, but have fallen on dire times. In all this, we must do all that we can to assist them and their families,” Salo added.
Salo then said that based on the account of Assistant Secretary Paul Cortes of the Department of Foreign Affairs, most of these cases are already in the final and executory stage and that the only remedy that the Philippine government can work on for them is to secure a pardon.
Based on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) data presented during the briefing, most of the death row cases involve illegal drugs and theft.
“As our only hope is a presidential pardon, I am appealing to our DFA and DMW (Department of Migrant Workers) to immediately undertake the necessary interventions and representations on our Kabayans’ behalf,” Salo said.
“Finding out that we have these 83 Filipinos working abroad about to be executed should make us pause and assess how we can do more. Being in a foreign country is sad and lonely enough for our kababayans; the least that they should have, most especially in difficult times, is some comfort in knowing that their government is always there for them. We owe it to them and to their families,” Salo added.—LDF, GMA Integrated News