President Rodrigo Duterte, who left for the Middle East on Monday for a three-nation state visit, said he intends to bring home some Filipinos who have been on death row there.
"They've been given the clearance. I will fly them home. Pagdating ko dito, dala ko na iyong iba," he said during a pre-departure press briefing in Davao City.
Although Duterte said there are 5,000 Filipinos on death row in the Middle East, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hjayceelyn Quintana, in a briefing last week, said there are only 31 Filipinos on death row in Saudi Arabia and one in Bahrain.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar are Duterte's destinations in his Middle East trip. There are no Filipinos on death row in Qatar.
"We’ll start bringing them back. The first batch, pagdating ko, pagbalik—Inshallah—nandito na ang iba," Duterte said.
Duterte will be in Saudi Arabia from April 10 to 12, Bahrain from April 12 to 14, and Qatar from April 14 to 16.
Quintana, during last week's briefing, said the cases of the Filipinos facing execution in the Middle East are in different levels andcomplexities.
"They are being studied by the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and see which ones will be ripe for, you know, for clemency or for pardon, things like that," she said without elaborating.
Quintana said that the Office of the President have been apprised about the cases of Filipinos on death row in the Gulf States.
To apply for clemency, the DFA official explained that it would depend on the side of the victim or his or her family as provided by the Sharia law. —KBK, GMA News