MANILA (UCAN): In what is a strange irony, The Promotion of Church People’s Response has requested the Philippine government, which is currently moving closer to reinstating the death penalty, to appeal to the government of the United Arab Emirates to refrain from executing a Filipino migrant worker, 30-year-old Jennifer Dalquez, who is convicted of murdering her employer.
Dalquez claimed before the Emirates’ court that as a vulnerable migrant worker she had only acted in self-defence when she was preyed upon by her male employer, Al Ain.
She was sentenced in May 2015 and has been languishing on death row ever since.
The Filipino woman appealed to the court, but was told the death sentence could only be lifted if the victim’s children are paid blood money as compensation for the death.
Dalquez denied intentionally killing her boss, saying she acted in self-defence because the man tried to rape her.
Her mother, Rajima, maintains her daughter is innocent and appealed for help for her acquittal.
“Her children keep on asking us when their mother is coming home,” a teary-eyed Rajima said during a candlelight vigil at the University of The Philippines on February 27.
“Jennifer, like women victims of assault around the world, never wanted to be attacked. When no one responded to her cries for help, her rational and innate recourse was to defend her life,” The Promotion of Church People’s Response said in a statement.
The group said it is seeking to stand in solidarity with migrants as it called on both the Philippine and Emirates governments to affirm and uphold respect for the dignity and human rights of all migrants, and especially vulnerable migrant women. The Philippine government has acknowledged its concern and desire to intercede for her, in a move that seems to indicate that it considers the killing of Filipinos its own prerogative.
It is difficult for a government that has just passed the second reading in the lower house of the congress of a bill to reintroduce the death penalty, as well as carrying out random executions without either trial or evidence, to ask for clemency, as those who show no mercy have little hope of projecting a credible voice on the matter.
An opponent of the bill, Teodoro Baguilat, described the congress debate as bullying, dictating and making members puppets.
“It is not that we lost, but our arguments were totally ignored,” he commented, adding that he does not remember another occasion when members were not allowed to ask questions.