#tell_it_to_sunstar: More executions of jailed OFWs seen

A GREATER number of Filipino citizens on death row abroad are bound to be executed by foreign governments once Congress revives the penalty here at home.

Jakatia Pawa, 44, and a native of Zamboanga Sibugay, was hanged by the Kuwaiti government on Jan. 25 for the murder of her Kuwaiti employer’s 22-year-old daughter.

But Jakatia’s brother, Air Force Col. Angaris Pawa, speaking from Zamboanga City, said his sister was framed by her Kuwaiti employer.

Pawa left her husband and two children to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait. She later lost her husband, who was shot to death in their home province in Mindanao in 2012.

The President’s plan to renew judicial executions would “emasculate” in a big way the Philippine government’s efforts to redeem the lives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are on death row abroad for ordinary offenses committed in their host countries.

Once Congress reinstates the cruel and inhuman punishment, it would be highly problematic for us to plead with other governments for compassion, if we ourselves are killing our own citizens here.

We cannot implore foreign governments to uphold universally recognized human rights, including the right to life, if we ourselves do not respect the sanctity of every human life.

At least 87 Filipinos are facing the death penalty overseas, mostly in Malaysia and China, for various felonies, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The 87 includes Mary Jane Veloso, the 31-year-old Filipino woman who was set to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia last year, but who obtained a last-minute reprieve after Manila asked Jakarta that she be first allowed to provide testimonial evidence against her alleged human trafficker in a Philippine criminal case.

Eight of the top 10 foreign destinations of OFWs “are on record as subscribing to capital punishment and aggressively carrying out executions.

The top 10 foreign destinations of deployed land-land based OFWs are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Qatar, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Taiwan, Malaysia, Bahrain and Canada, according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

Of the 10, only Canada and Hong Kong have abolished the death penalty, while the rest are actively killing lawbreakers.

The other countries that host many OFWs and that still adhere to the death penalty include Jordan, Oman and Japan.

Now, without the death penalty for a long time already, the Philippine government has great moral ascendancy to invoke humanitarian grounds and beseech foreign governments for them to show mercy to Filipino citizens who are about to be executed.

In accordance with Duterte’s wish, the House committee on justice recommended the plenary approval of a bill restoring death sentences for heinous crimes.--Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza
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