Saudi Court Upholds Death Sentence on 2 Filipinos Over Killing of Kababayans in 2006
Jeddah Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia affirmed an earlier verdict sentencing two Filipinos for the death of three fellow Filipinos in April 2006.
Four other Filipinos involved in the crime were sentenced 15 years in prison plus 1,500 lashes.
“Ang nangyari kahapon naglabas ng ng sentensiya yung yung preciding judge, na iyung dalawa doon sa accused ay hinatulan ng death,” said Vice Consul Alexander Estomo of the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah.
“Ako personally and another translator, we attended the hearing about doon sa mga kababayan natin na facing a penalty case regarding doon sa pagkamatay din ng tatlong Pilipino, more than a decade ago.”
There were a total of seven Filipino defendants involved in the killing of their countrymen in Jeddah. However, one of the accused have died while in detention. The gruesome crime shocked Filipino workers in the Kingdom as victims were chopped to death.
According to the Philippine Consulate in Jeddah, the sentences are still subject to appeal.
“Yung kaso kasi ngayon ay nasa criminal court pa, makukuha nila yung kopya ng desisyon, by next week. Meron naman silang pgkakataon na mag-apela, upon receipt of the court desisyon, they have 30 days to file an appeal,” Estomo said.
Should the Court of Appeals uphold the decision of the Criminal Court, it can still be elevated to the Supreme Judicial Council in Riyadh.
“Kung panigan din ng Supreme Judicial Council sa Riyadh ang desisyon ng Court of Appeals at criminal court, iaakyat pa nila iyan sa Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, o yung hari po ng Saudi Arabia, for his final desisyon,” added Estomo.
Still, the Philippine Embassy is not losing hope.
“Meron pang pagkakataon na mapigipan pa itong implementation ng kamatayan dito sa dalawang kababayan natin, and hopefully yung inaasahan din po natin pagsisikapan din natin na sana nga mapawalangsala din po sila,” the Vice Consul said.
Drafting of the appeal will begin next week once the Consulate receives the court sentence.
“Ang course of action ng consulate, of course we will be assisting them in drafting the appeal, kailangan din naming makuha ang kopya ng court desisyon, para ma-endorse din naming sa abogado, na tutulong sa pag-draft ng appeal,” said Estomo, adding that most of the defendants are in good condition.
“Physically except for one, physically okay naman sila, but of course malungkot especially doon sa dalawa na nahatulan ng kamatayan talaga namang hindi magandang balita ito para sa kanila,” he said.
“Pero inassure ko naman sila personal, ako mismo nakausap ko sila pagkatapos ng hearing, na we will exhaust all avenues para po mapawalangsala sila o ma-reverse itong desisyon ng court.”
The two defendants sentenced to death were not named in the report.