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Pinoy Abroad

DFA eyes pacts with overseas law firms to help Pinoys on death row

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is studying the feasibility of increasing its retainer agreements with law offices in other countries in order to immediately assist Filipinos with legal troubles, especially those facing death sentences.

"The DFA is studying to have more retainer agreements in law offices sa specific areas across the world na makakatulong sa ating OFWs," DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Friday.

According to Cayetano, President Rodrigo Duterte wants the DFA to work "double time" in assisting Filipinos on death row.

"Yung double time at one hundred percent effort gusto niya (Duterte)," said Cayetano, Duterte's running mate in the 2016 elections. "Preemptive o proactive, sa umpisa pa lang."

Cayetano said they are currently reviewing the cases of all Filipinos on death row in other countries, with the end view of appealing them before the relevant courts.

"We are going to appeal," he said. "We are reviewing everything, lahat ng nasa death row."

At present, there are 76 Filipinos on death row in other countries, most of them — or 25 — in Saudi Arabia.

The number does not include the nine Filipinos sentenced to death in Malaysia last week for the bloody attempt to retake Sabah in 2013 that left over 70 people dead.

Cayetano said he has instructed the Office of Public Diplomacy to go through the details of the case and prepare to file an appeal. —JP Soriano/KBK, GMA News