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Duterte considered deployment ban to UAE over case of Filipina on death row

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By Prince Golez

President Rodrigo Duterte said he had threatened to enforce a ban on Filipinos heading to United Arab Emirates (UAE) if the UAE government imposed the death penalty on overseas Filipino worker Jennifer Dalquez.

“Kaka-release lang nung babae doon sa — Maguindanao ‘yun. She’s a Maguindanao lady. Before coming here, nag-usap kami. Kasi she was spared,” Duterte said during his Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

“Sabi ko kasi, kung sinabi ko, ‘Putang ina bitayin ninyo ‘yan’, sabihin ko sa inyo, I will immediately order the suspension of the employment. Kasi kung hindi,” he added.

According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Dalquez was convicted and sentenced to death by an Abu Dhabi court for allegedly killing her employer in 2014.

“Iyong employer niya. Although nakakaduda, Mr. Presidente, dahil ‘yung size ng babae at that time I saw her, talagang napakaliit niya tapos ‘yung kanyang employer is the size of Lebron James eh. Kaya mahirap paniwalaan na siya ang pumatay. So na-set up siya,” Bello told the President.

“Anyway, when you learned about this, you told me that, ‘You tell the Emirates that if they kill Dalquez, I will declare a total ban’. So together with Administrator Cacdac of OWWA, we went to Abu Dhabi, Mr. President, and relayed the same instruction that you gave me. That I said, the President respect your justice system but the President feels that if you hang his countrymen, then he just to declare a total deployment ban for the entire United Arab Emirates,” he said.

Two months later, said the labor chief, the Court commuted the death sentence of Dalquez to only three years.

“Eh hindi pa nase-serve ‘yung three years, pinalaya na siya eh,” Bello said.

The 29-year-old domestic helper returned to the Philippines on November 2, after completing a jail term for theft.