The execution of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) in Kuwait last Wednesday, January 25 was a harsh reminder to us that there are today at least 88 Filipinos now confined on death row in countries all over the world. They are among some 7,000 serving time in prison for various crimes in the host countries where they had sought and found work.
Jakatia Pawa was a 41-year-old single mother of two from Zamboanga Sibugay who worked as a domestic helper in Kuwait. In 2007, she was accused of killing her employer’s daughter by stabbing her while she was asleep. Jakatia pleaded her innocence, claiming that a relative of the victim might have killed her after she was found to have an illicit affair with a neighbor. Her defense presented evidence that her DNA was not found on the murder weapon.
From the beginning, the Department of Foreign Affairs assisted her in her defense. The Philippine Embassy appealed to the girl’s family for a letter of forgiveness, to no avail. The family also refused to consider any “blood money.” The Criminal Court convicted Jakatia in 2008, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2009, and the Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence in 2010. It was carried out by hanging in Kuwait Wednesday morning.
Less than two years ago, in April, 2015, we had another Filipina – Mary Jane Veloso of Nueva Ecija – who was sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug trafficking. She was to be executed but President Widodo heeded appeals from Philippine officials and deferred the execution, pending the outcome of a Philippine trial against Mary Jane’s alleged illegal trafficker. She remains in Indonesia’s death row to this day.
We will continue to read stories about our OFWs like Mary Jane and Jakatia in the coming years for we have so many OFWs who have run afoul of the law in the countries where they work today. For them, we must keep our government’s help through the DFA, providing them adequate legal aid and ensuring that their rights are protected.
Today, we have about 2.5 million Filipinos working abroad, a
third of whom are unskilled laborers. We look forward to the day when Filipinos
leaving to work abroad will do so as a matter of choice, no longer as a matter
of necessity. Via: MB
Today, we have about 2.5 million Filipinos working abroad, a third of whom are unskilled laborers. We look forward to the day when Filipinos leaving to work abroad will do so as a matter of choice, no longer as a matter of necessity.