MANILA – Three Filipinos convicted in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been pardoned following the appeal of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., Malacañang announced Friday.
Two of the three pardoned prisoners were sentenced to death for drug trafficking, while the other was handed down a 15-year sentence for slander, Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil said in a statement.
Garafil said Marcos had a phone conversation with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and thanked him for heeding his request for pardon.
Marcos, in two separate letters issued on April 27, requested Sheikh Mohamed for the pardon, according to Garafil.
“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has thanked United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan for pardoning three convicted Filipinos, two of whom were on death row, already serving their sentences in the emirate state,” Garafil said.
Marcos first received the information about the UAE’s decision from Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. late Thursday night.
Citing the message from UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Mohamed Obaid Salem Alqataam Alzaabi, Abalos told Marcos that the Gulf nation granted the Philippines’ request.
“I am pleased to inform you that the appeal of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for three Filipinos, two of which are sentenced to death because of drug trafficking and one sentenced for 15 years for the crime of slander, has been granted for humanitarian pardon by our President H.H. Shiekh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,” the UAE ambassador told Abalos.
Meantime, Marcos also thanked Sheikh Mohamed for extending assistance to families who have been displaced in Albay province because of Mayon Volcano’s unrest.
The UAE sent 50 tons of food supplies and medicine to the evacuees.
Sheikh Mohamed also expressed appreciation for the Philippines, given the valuable contribution of around 600,000 Filipinos working in UAE.
“I am thankful because you have done so much for us. That’s the least we can do. Then the usual things about having stronger relations and I said my part about the very good treatment of Filipino nationals in UAE,” Marcos said after their phone conversation, as quoted by the Presidential Communications Office.
During the phone call, Sheikh Mohamed likewise reiterated his invitation to Marcos to attend the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai, Garafil said.
The invitation was first relayed to Marcos when the UAE ambassador paid him a visit at Malacañan Palace in Manila on June 13.
On the sidelines of the International Trade Forum at the Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City on June 15, Marcos said he is keen on attending the COP28, which will take place at Expo City on Nov. 30 to Dec. 12.
Marcos had also invited Sheikh Mohamed to visit the Philippines, saying the UAE leader is always welcome in the country, Garafil said. (PNA)