First posted 02:28pm (Mla time)
Sept 12, 2005
By Veronica Uy
APART from a Filipina maid in Singapore who faces death by hanging if she is convicted for the murder of a compatriot, at least 24 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are on death row for various crimes, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
In an interview with INQ7.net, Pedro Chan, executive director of the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, said most of the 24 death-row inmates are in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. He said those in Saudi Arabia face capital punishment for murder, while those in Malaysia face the death penalty for drug-related cases.
Chan also said that of the seven million Filipinos overseas, his office is handling some 25,000 assistance-to-nationals cases at the moment, including those that involve crimes and capital punishment.
“These figures are relatively low if you compare for example with the crime rate in Metro Manila. Of course, [OFWs] are more behaved when they are outside the country. When you have seven million people, these incidents are bound to happen.
“[The OFWs] stand out only because the cases usually involve both Filipino victims and Filipino perpetrators, and because they happen outside the country,” he said.At the same time, DFA spokesman Gilbert Asuque said funds have already been released for the hiring of two Singapore-based lawyers, one each for suspect Guen Garlejo Aguilar and for victim Jane Parangan La Puebla.
Asuque said Philippine embassy officials have already talked to Aguilar but only about “general things” as Singapore police officials have advised them against discussing the case.
“The right to remain silent and the right against self-incrimination are really honored there as requirement of the law,” he said. #