President Rodrigo Duterte will not be able to ask for clemency for Filipinos on death row in Saudi Arabia as their cases have yet to reach King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, according to presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella.
"We need to clarify that, first, the process has not yet reached the level of the King, in which case there is no place for us asking for clemency at this stage," Abella said in a news briefing in Saudi Arabia, the first stop of Duterte's three-nation state visit in the Middle East.
Abella made the clarification after Duterte, in his pre-departure speech in Davao City on Monday, said he intends to bring home with him Filipinos on death row in the Middle East when his state visit concludes.
There are 21 to 31 Filipinos facing execution in Saudi Arabia due to various offenses, based on figures from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
Abella said Duterte would likely bring home Filipino workers who were stranded in Saudi Arabia because of immigration issues.
"However, regarding amnesty, he did make mention that he would like or he is planning to bring home some of those who would take advantage of the amnesty program regarding violators of the immigration rules," he said.
Duterte is scheduled to meet King Salman in a welcome ceremony in his private residence late Tuesday afternoon, Manila time.
After Saudi Arabia, Duterte is also set to visit Bahrain and Qatar. —KBK, GMA News