Binay heads panel for convicted OFWs

By Delon Porcalla, The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 12 2014 03:43 AM | Updated as of Feb 12 2014 11:43 AM

MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino has created a permanent committee to be headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay to come up with guidelines on how to deal with overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row, including raising blood money for them.

“The President stressed the need for a clear policy for blood money,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said yesterday.

“We know our OFWs have contributed a lot to our country and there are situations where, for one reason or another, a crime is committed and blood money is required, especially in the Middle East nations,” he added.

Lacierda said the committee would “review each and every case” and study other types of support the government can provide OFWs.

Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz and Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman are the other members of the committee.

Speedier process

Binay and Baldoz welcomed the creation of the committee, saying more OFWs could be saved from execution.

“Having clear-cut guidelines on the use of blood money would greatly speed up the process of saving OFWs from the death penalty in Arab countries where the Sharia law applies,” Binay said.

“A speedier resolution would, in turn, greatly reduce the emotional stress and anguish of our OFWs and their families, especially those who are already in death row,” he added.

Baldoz said the idea is “to ensure that if blood money is needed, there is sure source, but guidelines are needed where to source the money and how to disburse the money.” – With Jose Rodel Clapano, Mayen Jaymalin