PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has bared that he had threatened to impose a total ban on deployment to the United Arab Emirates if a Filipino domestic helper who was accused of murdering her employer was executed.
“‘P— ina bitayin ninyo ‘yan, sabihin ko sa inyo, I will immediately order the suspension of the employment,” Duterte said in his remarks during the Cabinet meeting held Tuesday evening in Malacañang.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III confirmed the President’s statement, telling everyone present that he and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac flew to Abu Dhabi to relay to UAE officials the President’s sentiments.
“I said, the President respect[s] your justice system. But the President feels that if you hang his countrymen, then he [will] just declare a total deployment ban for the entire United Arab Emirates,” Bello said.
“So after that, Mr. President, two months after, we learned na kinomute (commute) ‘yung sentence niya of death to only three years. Eh hindi pa nase-serve ‘yung three years, pinalaya na siya eh. Obviously natakot sila doon sa sabi niyo, sir.”
Jennifer Dalquez, who was saved from the death row, returned to the Philippines on November 2.
A native of General Santos City, Dalquez was arrested on December 12, 2014, days after stabbing her employer who the Filipina worker claimed was trying to rape her at knifepoint.
She was sentenced to death by the Al Ain Court of First Instance on May 20, 2015. She was given an opportunity, under Islamic law, to have the decision reversed if the victim’s sons will not swear in the name of Allah that she killed their father and instead opt for the payment of blood money.
The sons reportedly failed to attend the hearings as required by the court, prompting Dalquez’s lawyer to move for her acquittal.
Dalquez could not help but cry on President Duterte’s shoulder during their meeting Tuesday.
Dalquez and some members of her family met with the President in Malacañang, four days after she arrived in Manila from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where she was kept behind bars for nearly 4 years.
Also present were Labor Secretary Bello and OWWA chief Cacdac.
In a tweet, Cacdac said Duterte was a “shoulder to cry on” for the 29-year-old Dalquez. He also described the Palace meeting as “tearful” and “joyous.”
He said that Dalquez, during the meeting, “was thankful for the President’s help in bringing her home.”
Duterte also provided cash assistance and issued orders for the government to facilitate livelihood op portunities for her, said Cacdac.
Dalquez has received assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Labor and Employment, and OWWA. DoLE has given livelihood assistance to her parents and a scholarship to her child.