MANILA – The Philippine government will spare no effort in saving the lives of all Filipinos facing a a death sentence abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Wednesday.
“The DFA continues to work hard and exhausts all diplomatic channels available to ensure that no death penalty sentence is executed against any of our ‘kababayans’ (countrymen). Currently, there are 81 death penalty cases involving overseas Filipinos,” the DFA said in a statement.
Since 2018, the DFA has secured the acquittal of two nationals sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Meanwhile, the death sentence of two more Filipinos in Saudi Arabia were commuted to nine-year imprisonment last year with the intervention of a legal retainer hired by the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh.
The DFA said it also secured 556 acquittals from 2018 to 2022, of which 135 were absolved last year.
“The 2022 figures should be appreciated vis-a-vis the fact that, for the first half of 2022, most countries in Asia and the Middle East were still practicing strict Covid-19 control protocols. Therefore, courts generally remained closed and there was thus a general slowdown in the resolution of cases,” it said.
The DFA said most of the acquittals involved retaliatory cases filed against household service workers in the Middle East for theft, absconding, and “breach of trust”.
It also pointed out that many of the cases filed are for crimes that are “not necessarily viewed as offenses in the Philippines” such as immorality cases or giving birth out of wedlock.
“There are almost no chance for acquittals for these kinds of cases,” it said.
In the same period, the DFA also obtained 354 pardons for convicted Filipinos from their host government. (PNA)