OFW Jennifer Dalquez on being saved from death row: ‘Taos-pusong nagpapasalamat’

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 01 2018 10:35 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2018 06:01 AM

OFW Jennifer Dalquez on being saved from death row: ‘Taos-pusong nagpapasalamat’ 1
Philippine Embassy Assistance to Nationals Officer Sheena Bungay (left) with Jennifer Dalquez on board the Philippine Airlines flight. Photo courtesy of DFA

MANILA—After spending almost 4 years in an Abu Dhabi prison, acquitted murder suspect Jennifer Dalquez finally boarded her flight to freedom on Thursday night.

She thanked the Philippine government for its effort in saving her from death row. 

Dalquez will be arriving in Manila on Friday morning on board a Philippine Airlines flight, which is also bringing home 86 undocumented Filipinos who availed themselves of the 3-month amnesty program of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

"Taos puso po ako nagpapasalamat sa embahada na tinulungan po ako nila sa kaso ko hanggang makalaya at sa gobyerno ako po'y taos pusong nagpapasalamat sa inyo sa tulong na ginawa nyo sa akin. Maraming, maraming salamat po!," Dalquez said in a handwritten statement to the embassy. 

Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana said Dalquez was grateful to the Philippine embassy for letting her return home and be reunited with her loved ones. 

“Jennifer was indeed very thankful for all the assistance, the support, and most especially the prayers that she said led to the reversal of the death sentence that was meted out on her 3 years ago,” Quintana said.

Dalquez, 29, did not have the chance to personally thank Quintana as she was escorted directly to the aircraft by UAE authorities. 

Dalquez is returning home 3 years after she was found guilty and sentenced to death by an Abu Dhabi court for stabbing to death her employer in 2014 after he threatened to kill the General Santos native for refusing to have sex with him.

The embassy, through its lawyers, immediately appealed the conviction and successfully had it overturned by a local court in 2017. Dalquez was subsequently ordered released after completing a 5-year jail term for theft on October 25.

Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Sarah Lou Arriola also welcomed Dalquez’s release and repatriation. 

"Jennifer’s acquittal underscores just how serious the Duterte administration is in promoting the rights and protecting the welfare of our people abroad," she said. 

According to Arriola, the DFA exhausted all legal remedies to spare Dalquez from capital punishment.

She said the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs provided Dalquez with a lawyer since her case was heard by the Court of First Instance in March 2015. 

Embassy representatives were also present during Dalquez's court hearings and visited her several times at the Al Ain Central Jail. 

Arriola also said the DFA provided Dalquez with financial assistance to cover her personal expenses while in detention and also shouldered the cost of the 2 compassionate visits to Abu Dhabi of her parents. It was also the DFA that shouldered the cost of her flight home. 

Dalquez also received assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III providing livelihood for her parents and scholarship to her child following his visit to her in 2017.