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Merciless government can’t beg for mercy

MANILA (SE): A Filipino migrant worker, Jakatia Pawa, was hanged in Kuwait on January 25 after being found guilty of murdering the 22-year-old daughter of her employer.

Pawa had maintained her innocence right through her long ordeal, saying that she had no motive whatsoever for killing the woman.

“It is sad and depressing news. A life was lost. A dream was shattered. Whatever region or religion, she is a Filipino. She is one of us. And we are affected,” Bishop Ruperto Santos, from the Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People, was quoted by CBCP News as saying.

“The fact that Jakatia protested her innocence to the end of her life only underscores the abhorrence at the death penalty and the sadness that we feel at Jakatia’s death should make us all advocates against the death penalty,” he added.

The bishop said that for him, restoring the death penalty in The Philippines would place the lives of all overseas Filipino workers on death row abroad at risk, as a nation that executes without mercy can hardly make a plea for mercy.

A spokesperson for Malacañang, Ernesto Abella, said that the palace is saddened over her execution and that the Philippine government had done all it could to save her.

However, speaking on behalf of a president who is hell bent on bringing back the death penalty in his own country, his words rang hollow, as did those of the labour secretary, Silvestre Bello, who said he is working to save another Filipino on death row in Kuwait, Elipido Lano, from the hangman’s noose.

He has been convicted of murdering a fellow Filipino, Nilo Macaranas, in 2014.

Altogether seven people were executed in Kuwait on the same day, one of whom belonged to the royal family. They are the first to be executed in the oil-rich Gulf state since 2013, when a temporary moratorium on the death penalty expired.

The Public Prosecutions Office announced that those left hanging by the neck until dead include two Kuwaitis and two Egyptians, together with one each from Bangladesh, The Philippines and Ethiopia.

Pawa and the Ethiopian woman were both domestic workers convicted of murdering members of their employers’ families in two unrelated crimes.

In what has become a common knee jerk reaction from Manila, the Department of Labour has announced a ban on the deployment of Filipinos to Kuwait in the light of the increasing number of reports of abuse by employers.

While it will in all probability not follow through on the plan, Bishop Santos says it should take up the real challenge of providing alternative employment at home, so that people will not be tempted to take on work in dangerous places.

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