MANILA- The families of Filipino seafarers detained in Libya appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to intervene for the release of their loved ones who have been in jail since 2017.
The seafarers were taken into custody in August 2017 by the Libyan Coast Guard on suspicion of fuel smuggling.
Among those detained were Claro Allera, Fulgencio Eulogio, Abraham Naduma Jr., Ronnie Moniva, Gil Cruzada, Aldwin Emperado, and Captain Arthur Taleno.
“Tinitiis po nila hanggang ngayon, kasi gusto nila makauwi sa mahal nila sa buhay. Maliliit pa po mga anak namin,” Cristal, wife of Allera told reporters Tuesday.
(They are enduring jail time because they want to come home alive for their loved ones. Our children are still young.)
"We are appealing to our President to help us please, assist us. Give us your immediate help para makalaya po mga mahal namin sa buhay (so our loved ones can be freed),” she added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) previously said Libyan authorities have assured the Philippine Embassy in Tripoli that the detained Filipino seafarers are in good condition and are being treated well.
The families lamented that the case of the Filipino seafarers has dragged on as they maintained the innocence of their loved ones.
“They have nothing to do with the allegations. They are innocent, they did nothing wrong, they did not violate any law. That's why we are appealing to the President to please help them,” said Dinna Marie Malapad, partner of Taleno.
While the families recognize the efforts of Philippine agencies on settling the case, they said they felt an intervention from President Duterte would make a difference.
“Sana tulungan na kami ni President, intervention na po from the President. Maraming bagay na may influence siya from his level,” Allera said.
(We hope that the President will intervene since he can influence a lot of things.)
“Mahirap magpalaki ng mga bata na wala ang tatay nila. Nagtatrabaho lang po sila and they are in a place na very hostile,” Malapad added.
(It's difficult to raise children without a father. They are just working in a very hostile environment.)
The case of the detained seafarers are currently on appeal at Libya's top court.