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Loren asks DFA: Was adequate legal aid given to Pinoy OFW sentenced to death?

April 18, 2010

NP-NPC-LDP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE LOREN LEGARDA CALLED ON THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (DFA) TO REVIEW THE CASE OF FILIPINO OFW “JOSEPH” (NOT HIS REAL NAME) AND FIND OUT IF THERE WERE LAPSES IN THE LEGAL AID PROVIDED BY THE PHILIPPINE EMBASSY IN RIYADH.
The Filipino worker who hails from Mexico, Pampanga, went to Riyadh in October 2008 to work as a tile setter. He claims to have been brutally beaten by his Sudanese landlord and accidentally killed the Sudanese in June 2009.
OFW “Joseph”, who was contacted by Migrante-Middle East, said that aside from the unfavorable ruling of the Saudi Court, the Philippine embassy in Riyadh did not assist him during the hearings. He was only represented by 2 interpreters during the court hearings and no lawyer was hired for his defense.
“I ask the DFA to find out if indeed the Philippine post in Riyadh failed to give legal aid to OFW Joseph. This should not happen. Right now, there are about 27 more OFWs on death row in the Middle East alone and their families are still hoping against hope that they will be saved from death – or at the very least be given a fair trial,” said Legarda who campaigned yesterday in Pampanga.
Legarda has consistently expressed her commitment to the welfare of OFWs and to protect them from abuse while working abroad. Both Legarda and her running mate Manny Villar have repatriated hundreds of OFWs.
In 2008, Legarda rescued nine OFW workers in Malaysia who were victims of human trafficking and were sexually abused.