Filipino gets death in killing of Sudanese in Riyadh

April 17, 2010 11:57 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, April 17 — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that a 30-year-old Filipino worker from Pampanga province, who was unnamed, was meted the death sentence on April 13 in the killing of a Sudanese owner/manager of rooms-for-rent in Riyadh and stealing his wallet and mobile phone.

An unnamed Filipino woman, who was also imprisoned for harboring her compatriot and receiving the loot, was already repatriated to Manila in January this year after serving her prison term, the DFA said.

The man, identified only as from Mexico in Pampanga, allegedly killed the Sudanese with hammer blows in June 2009.

He was receiving legal assistance from the Philippine embassy in Riyadh in the course of his trial. That assistance continues with his appeal before the Court, DFA said.

The DFA announced the legal assistance it is providing the Pampanga native in response to accusations by the man's Middle East-based supporters that the embassy has been inattentive to his case.

The supporters' leader, John Monterona, said the man’s family was shocked by the conviction and had claimed that only two interpreters were present to assist the convict at his hearing and “that despite their plea to hire a lawyer for his defense, the embassy and the DFA did not provide him a lawyer.”

The DFA quoted the man as claiming self-defense and said the Court had given the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) 30 days to appeal.

Supporters added the man they called “Joseph” are hopeful of a reversal "because there were many eyewitnesses who said that it was (an act of) self-defense.”

They quoted the man and his family of giving the date May 1, 2010 as the deadline for filing the appeal.

DFA did not mention it, but Monterona quoted the family as claiming the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs (OUMWA) “will now arrange a defense fund of USS10,000.”

Embassy Third Secretary and Vice Consul Roussel R. Reyes, a lawyer, said that the man gets visits from embassy representatives in the Malaz Central Jail in Riyadh, where he was committed since last year's incident.

”The embassy also continuously follows up with the Riyadh Prosecution and Investigation Office and the Riyadh Grand Court and frequently inquired about the status of the case,” the DFA said.

DFA also said the embassy will also schedule a meeting with the victim’s family, through the Sudanese embassy in Riyadh, for the settlement of the private rights or civil aspect of the case. This usually involves a “forgiveness letter” and “blood money” that might help to lighten the sentence.

The man’s family in Pampanga gets update about the case from the DFA Office of the OUMWA, according to the DFA.

In an e-mail to the Philippines News Agency, Monterona claimed that the Pampanga man had called him from prison, asking advice about an Arabic-language “piece of paper” that he was being asked to sign purportedly in connection with his appeal.

”We have advised the subject OFW not to sign anything in the absence of any officials or case officers from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh” Monterona said in his e-mail.

According to Monterona, the imprisoned man claimed “no Embassy officials visited him since his hearing (sentencing) last 13 April 2010.” (PNA) scs/GJB

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