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Presidential pardon

A WEEK after President Rodrigo Duterte pardoned US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, a jailed overseas Filipino worker (OFW received clemency from the Amir of Kuwait.

As expected, the Filipino people, notably our migrant workers, welcomed the pardon of Bienvenido Espino, who was sentenced to death in 2008 for killing his Filipina partner.

After languishing for 13 years at the Sulabiya Central Jail, Espino was pardoned by the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmod Al-Jaben Al-Sabah, on August 30, drawing cheers from Filipinos.

Pemberton, on the other hand, was granted absolute pardon by President Duterte on September 7, with the Chief Executive claiming the American soldier was unfairly treated.

The release of Pemberton drew varied reactions from many quarters, including ordinary citizens, but the fiercest verbal assault came from known critics of the Duterte administration.

Makati City Pabakuna

In the case of Espino, no less than two Philippine presidents – Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III – personally appealed to the Amir of Kuwait to grant clemency to our countryman.

Even after his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment in 2013, the Philippine government remained persistent in appealing for the Amir’s pardon, according to Consul General Mohd Noordin Pendosina Lomondot.

Lomondot relayed President Duterte’s “deepest and most profound gratitude” to the Amir of Kuwait for “giving our countryman a chance to start a new life in the Philippines.”

In the view of many, the prerogative of a head of state to pardon a prisoner should enjoy public support not only in the Philippines but elsewhere, particularly in countries where there are OFWs.