BY AUBREY MAKILAN
November 26, 2007 – 5:27 p.m.
“Bantay Hatol” was formally launched on November 26, a day before the promulgation of the decision of the Kuwaiti Supreme Court on the case of Marilou Ranario, an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kuwait who was sentenced to death in 2005 for killing her female employer.
The launching in Quezon City was attended by Migrante International secretary general Maita Santiago, Marilou’s father, Rosario, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran, and leaders of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and GABRIELA.
Bantay Hatol is part of the efforts of these groups to intensify the campaign to save the life of Marilou. An improvised hourglass was installed to show that time is slowly running out before the promulgation on Nov. 27. “We appeal again to the Kuwaiti Amir to ensure that Marilou does not suffer a fate similar to Flor Contemplacion,” said Santiago. “At the same time, we hope that there would be more than a commutation of her death sentence. We hope that she is released and repatriated soonest to the Philippines. Anything less than her immediate release would show that the Arroyo administration has failed Marilou and her family anew.”
In response to government statements that the Arroyo administration has already sent an appeal for clemency to the Kuwaiti Amir, Santiago said they hoped “the appeal is not too late.” She added that government intervention should be done at the start and “not towards the end of the OFW’s ordeal,” especially in critical cases like that of Marilou’s.
Meanwhile, Gabriela Women’s Party, through its representatives Maza and Luz Ilagan, has filed a resolution at the House of Representatives to investigate the plight of OFWs in death row. Citing DFA records, Migrante International said there are at least 35 OFWs currently in death row, and most of them are in the Middle East.
At 3.pm. of Nov. 27, Marilou’s father and siblings Weng and Allan, Migrante International and its member organizations, concerned individuals, and progressive groups will be holding a picket at the Department of Foreign Affairs to wait for updates on her case from Foreign Affairs officials. (Bulatlat.com)