The husband of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) sentenced to die by hanging in Kuwait said he should not have listened to Philippine government officials who advised him to keep silent regarding his wife’s case. “Lalo nilang pinabayaan e. Dapat sana lalo kaming nag-ingay,” (They neglected the case more. We should have raised our concerns in public.) he said.
BY AUBREY SC MAKILAN
The husband of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) sentenced to die by hanging in Kuwait said he should not have listened to Philippine government officials who advised him to keep silent regarding his wife’s case. He accused government officials of neglect.
In 2005, Migrante International reported that four OFWs were executed in Saudi Arabia. They were Sergio Aldana, Miguel Fernandez Jr., Wilfredo Bautista and Antonio Alvesa.
Migrante also reported that in September 2005, Marilou Ranario, an OFW domestic, was convicted by a Kuwaiti lower court and sentenced to death by hanging allegedly for killing her employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, on Jan. 11, 2005. The Kuwaiti Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the lower court meting out the death penalty on Ranario on Feb. 17, 2006.
The final judgment on Ranario’s case will still issued by the Cassation Court, Kuwait’s high tribunal.
Migrante said, in an interview with Bulatlat, that it is Ranario who should be given justice because she was maltreated.
Media reports cited court records showing that Ranario only meant to “harm” her employer who had abused her; that was after Ranario allegedly overheard her Kuwaiti employer telling another person of her (the employer’s) plan to arrange for some men to rape the maid.
In a related development, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced, in January 2006, that six OFWs charged with offenses punishable by death had their sentences reduced to jail terms. The six are Guen Aguilar, Zenaida Taulbee, Ronilo Arandia, Fernie Salarza, Melvin Obejera and Ma. Fe Cruzado.
Maita Santiago, Migrante International secretary-general, welcomed the news but challenged the government to save all OFWs in Death Row and to act pro-actively to prevent abuses committed against OFWs.
“’Di dapat umasa sa awa lagi ng Kuwait” (We should not always rely on the mercy of Kuwait), Santiago said. “Dapat comprehensively i-address ang mga paglabag sa mga karapatan ng OFWs, lalo na sa Middle East” (The government should comprehensively address violations on the rights of OFWs especially in the Middle East), she added.
Ranario is one of the 30 OFWs in Death Row that Migrante reported in 2005. DFA spokesperson Claro Cristobal said, in a phone interview with Bulatlat, that they could not give the exact number of OFWs in Death Row as it is a “fast running” figure.
Ranario’s family sought the help of Migrante because they did not see any development in the government’s handling of her case.
Lolito Dalibutan, Ranario’s common-law husband, said he gets updates on his wife’s case only from Migrante.
“’Pag tumawag po ung hipag ko dito (sa Department of Foreign Affairs), minsan wala (ang taong kakausapin namin)” (When my sister-in-law calls the DFA, sometimes the person handling my wife’s case is indisposed.), he complained. “O kaya sasabihin nila wala pang update” (Or they just tell us that there is no update).
Cristobal debunked Dalibutan’s accusations saying that the DFA has a record of assistance especially legal service given to Ranario and her family.
“The Philippine government has never been negligent in providing support to Ranario and family,” he said, adding that they have not missed a single hearing in the lower and appellate courts.
He also said the government filed a petition for a review and reversal of the lower court decision.
Dalibutan regretted following the advice of DFA officials that they keep silent on her wife’s case. “Lalo nilang pinabayaan e. Dapat sana lalo kaming nag-ingay” (They neglected the case more. We should have raised our concerns in public.), he said.