MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Spokesperson Charles Jose said Friday, March 17 they are hopeful that the new pieces of evidence they’ve presented to the Al Ain Judicial Court will overturn the death sentence on overseas Filipino worker (OFW) Jennifer Dalquez.
"We are hopeful na sana ma-overturn yung sentence niya. We entered new pieces of evidence and witnesses dito sa pag-apela niya. Sa appeal niya ay tinawag natin as witnesses yung mga crime scene investigators at tiyaka yung mga forensic experts. So hopefully these will be new pieces of evidence that will be appreciated by the judge dito sa Court of Appeals,” Jose said in an interview with Rappler.
(We are hopeful that her sentence will be overturned. We entered new pieces of evidence and new witnesses in her appeal. We called as witnesses the crime scene investigators and forensic experts so hopefully, this will be new evidence that will be appreciated by the judge here at the Court of Appeals.)
The final hearing for Dalquez’s appeal in a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court was postponed on February 27 and moved to March 27.
According to the DFA, the court asked the children of the deceased employer to attend the hearing on March 27 and swear 50 times, in front of the court and in the name of Allah, that Dalquez was the only one who could’ve killed their father.
If the children will do so, the Court of Appeals will uphold the death sentence. If not, then the court will allow Dalquez to pay for blood money.
But Jose clarified that this hearing is still not the end of the line for Dalquez.
"We should bear in mind na appeals process pa lamang ito. Meron pang final stage dito sa judicial process, which is yung final decision ng Supreme Court ng UAE,” he explained.
(We should bear in mind that this is still just the appeals process. We still have a final stage which is the final decision of UAE’s Supreme Court.)
Dalquez, who is from General Santos City, was imprisoned in December 2014, after being convicted of murdering her male employer.
The Al Ain Court of First Instance sentenced her to death on May 20, 2015.
Dalquez said her employer tried to rape her at knifepoint and she accidentally killed him while defending herself.
"Napatay ko po ang aking among pulis dahil tinangka niya po akong gahasain at patayin. Sinunog po niya ako....Pinalo ng bote sa mukha, sa bandang taas ng mata. Noong tinangka niya po akong saksakin, nakaiwas po ako at sa awa ng Diyos ay naagaw ko ang kutsilyo sa kanya," she said.
(I accidentally killed my employer,a policeman, because he tried to rape and kill me. He burned me....Hit my face with a bottle, just above my eye. When he tried to stab me, I was able to dodge and take the knife from him.)
Dalquez and her family earlier appealed to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to help the OFW escape death row.
Government is doing everything
Jose said that the government is already doing everything it can to help Dalquez.
"We have extended to her all forms of assistance, kasama na doon ang legal assistance. Nag-hire tayo ng lawyer para sa kanyang defense at itong lawyer na to ay nasa tabi na niya mula nuong first hearing hanggang sa Court of Appeals."
He also said that the embassy has tried already to reach out and negotiate with the deceased employer’s family, but to no avail.
"Sinubukan na ng embassy (The embassy has tried) to reach out to the family and to try to negotiate the payment of blood money. And so far, ayaw tumanggap ng blood money nung family ng victim (the victim’s family does not want to accept blood money)."
(We have extended to her all forms of assistance including legal assistance. We hired a lawyer to defend her and this lawyer has been with her from from her first hearing at the trial court to the Court of Appeals.)
Other than legal assistance, Jose said they’ve regularly visited Dalquez in jail, helped facilitate the parents’ visits, and the DSWD has also given her family money.
Photo by Mara Cepeda/Rappler
Meanwhile, militant group Migrante International claimed the Philippine embassy told Dalquez's family not to approach Migrante for assistance but the group vowed that it "will not stop until Jennifer is acquitted."
"We have enough reasons to be alarmed. Like the previous regimes, the current administration is also guilty of criminal neglect as seen in its handling of the Jakatia Pawa case," it said.
Pawa was an OFW executed in Kuwait earlier this year. He claimed innocence in the murder of her Kuwaiti employer's 22-year-old daughter. – Rappler.com