2 of 3 pardoned Filipinos in UAE saved from death row – Palace

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 24) — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pardoned three Filipino convicts — two of them on death row for drug trafficking and one with a 15-year sentence for slander, the Palace disclosed on Friday.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. requested humanitarian pardon for the three in two separate letters to UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, according to a Malacañang statement.

“I am pleased to inform you that the appeal of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for three Filipinos, two of which are sentenced to death because of drug trafficking and one sentenced for 15 years for the crime of slander, has been granted for humanitarian pardon by our President,” UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Mohamed Obaid Salem Alqataam Alzaabi said.

The Sheikh noted the valuable contribution of some 600,000 Filipinos working in the Arab nation.

Marcos, meanwhile, thanked his UAE counterpart for the decision.

“That’s the least we can do," Marcos told the Sheikh. "Then the usual things about having stronger relations and I said my part about the very good treatment of Filipino nationals in UAE.”

In a statement on Saturday, OFW Party-list Rep. Marissa Magsino said the pardon highlights the importance of government intervention in cases of OFWs convicted of capital offenses and awaiting execution abroad.

In January, the lawmaker filed a resolution urging the appropriate committees of the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry into the status of OFWs facing such a situation, as well as to review the assistance provided by the state and determine possible improvements.

“Habang may panahon pa, gugulin natin ang lahat ng posibleng aksyon upang maisalba ang buhay ng ating mga OFWs [While there is still time, let’s exhaust all efforts to save the lives of our OFWs],” Magsino said.

According to her, Congress has been coordinating with the Department of Migrant Workers and the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding OFWs still on death row in the UAE, Malaysia, China, Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, and Japan.

Meanwhile, Malacañang said the UAE president reiterated his invitation to Marcos to attend the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Dubai, a request first sent a week ago during the UAE Ambassador’s courtesy call in Malacañang last week.

For his part, Marcos invited Sheikh Mohamed to come to the Philippines, saying the UAE leader is always welcome to visit the country.