DFA: 65 OFWs facing death row cases abroad

Police officers usher OFW Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso to her review trial in Indonesia. The DFA has requested for her executive clemency.
Officers take the death row inmate of a drug case, overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso (C), to her first judicial review trial in the District Court of Sleman, Yogyakarta, March 3, 2015. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo said that they had already requested executive clemency for Veloso. (Photo: REUTERS/Ignatius Eswe)

A total of 65 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are facing death row cases in different countries abroad, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) revealed on Monday (September 26) during the foreign affairs department’s budget hearing.

Composed of 48 males and 17 females, all of them are represented by DFA-hired lawyers, said Nueva Ecija 3rd District Rep. Joseph Gilbert Violago, the sponsor for the DFA’s proposed budget.

“All of the death row cases are being handled by lawyers hired by the DFA,” Violago said.

He also said that Secretary Enrique Manalo had already appealed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo for executive clemency for Mary Jane Veloso, per the instruction of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The discussion on executive clemency for Veloso happened between Sec. Manalo and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi are on the sidelines of Marcos’s state visit to Indonesia.

Walang final na sagot ang Indonesia, pero iko-consult ng mga taong kausap ng [DFA] ang kanilang Ministry of Justice regarding the request,” Violago said.

(Indonesia had not given a definite answer, but the DFA will consult the executive clemency request to the Indonesian Ministry of Justice.)

When asked why Marcos wasn’t the one who requested the clemency, Violago said that protocol dictates that the talks should be minister to minister.

The protocol is ang mag-uusap talaga sa case ni Mary Jane Veloso, it will be minister to minister,” Violago said.

(The protocol is that the discussion on Mary Jane Veloso’s case would be minister to minister.)

Meanwhile, Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas is calling on the DFA to also request for the clemency of other Filipinos possibly facing death punishments in Malaysia.

“We are hoping that the DFA, as well as the President, show stronger action to request for clemency for these 12 people in Malaysia, many of whom are victims of drug syndicates,” Brosas said.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

Watch more videos on Yahoo: