Pres. Aquino’s intercession recommended if death sentence vs. 3 Filipinos affirmed by Saudi supreme court

July 16, 2010 12:01 pm 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, July 16 — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s intercession in the case of three Filipinos meted with the death penalty by a trial court in Saudi Arabia will be recommended by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should the Saudi Arabian Supreme Judicial Council affirm the death sentence.

Earlier reports said Victorino Gaspar Jr., Paul Miquibas and Edgardo Genetiano were given the death penalty in April 6, this year, for killing and robbing another Filipino worker, Raymundo Dimaculangan of Laguna province, on April 15, 2008 in Saudi Arabia.

On July 4, they appealed their conviction by Jizan General Shari’ah Court with the assistance of a new legal counsel provided by the Philippine consulate-general in Jeddah.

DFA said that in the event Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Judicial Council (supreme court) sustains the decision of the appeals court, “President Aquino could make representations with the Saudi King for the grant of executive clemency.”

During the trial at Jizan, the three submitted as their defense their lack of motive for killing Dimaculangan, gave alibi, and suggested that their purported confession was extricated involuntarily. This defense will be followed through during the appeal, it was learned.

The trial court has ruled out the payment of blood money to the victim’s family by sentencing the trio to “ta’azeeran qati” or death which cannot be settled by payment of blood money.

In Islamic law, blood money or financial restitution, known as “diyya,” from the offender and a letter of forgiveness known as “tanazul” from the victim’s family –constituting the private aspect of the criminal settlement — could be enough basis for the case to be forwarded to the king or emir.

The king would then determine whether or not a royal pardon should be dispensed, depending on whether or not the public aspect of settlement such as imprisonment or lashing had been complied with.

Still, the case for a possible royal pardon could be stronger with the personal intercession of a very influential person from the offender’s country and other intermediaries.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was one such dignitary who succeeded in extricating some Filipinos out of death row and having them repatriated to the Philippines and to their families. In one instance, she solicited the help of her good friend, King Carlos of Spain, as her channel to the royal House of Saud.

Domestic helpers Idan Tejano and Marjanna Sakilan, from Batangas and Jolo provinces respectively, were among such saved Filipinos. They returned to their homes in January this year after about nine years of incarceration in Saudi Arabia for killing Tejano’s pregnant employer in 2001.

Their sentence of death by hanging or "quisas" was confirmed by the Supreme Judicial Council but this was suspended for reasons not publicly declared.

Royal pardon was eventually granted after King Abdullah considered several letters of appeal from and a personal meeting with Mrs. Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009. (PNA)

scs/GJB

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