DFA urged to lobby for pardon of convicted overseas Filipinos

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

April 2, 2024, 6:01 pm

<p><em>(File photo)</em></p>

(File photo)

MANILA – The chairperson of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs on Tuesday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to lobby for the pardon or commutation of sentences of overseas Filipinos convicted of crimes as the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close.

In a statement, KABAYAN Party-list Rep. Ron Salo said the DFA could intercede on behalf of the convicted overseas Filipinos, noting that Ramadan is a favorable time to seek pardon in Muslim-majority countries.

He described Ramadan as a period of reflection, forgiveness, and renewal in the Islamic faith.

“As Ramadan nears its end, we urge the DFA and Philippine Embassies in Muslim countries to make the necessary representation and actively intercede on behalf of our kababayan who are facing sentences abroad,” Salo said.

Salo recalled the traditional acts of royal clemency by Muslim leaders during Ramadan, which include the commutation of sentences or complete pardons.

He added that such "gestures of goodwill" align with the values of compassion and forgiveness emphasized during the holy month.

Salo cited March 2023 data from the DFA revealing that 83 overseas Filipinos are on death row, while 1,267 are detained, with the majority of these cases in the Middle East and Muslim countries.

He also called for a concerted effort from all stakeholders, including other government agencies such as the Department of Migrant Workers, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, non-government organizations, and the families of the convicted individuals to support the DFA in their diplomatic endeavors.

“It is a collective effort that requires the support and prayers of our entire nation. We stand in solidarity with our overseas Filipinos and their families during this challenging time, hoping for their eventual return to our home,” Salo said. (PNA)