34 OFWs face death penalty

By JESUS F. LLANTO, abs-cbnNews.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Oct 31 2008 05:48 PM | Updated as of Nov 01 2008 02:11 AM

The latest execution of overseas Filipino worker Jenifer Bedoya in Saudi Arabia has heightened interest on cases of OFWs convicted of committing crimes in their host countries and facing death penalty.

Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs show there are 40 death penalty cases that involve OFWs. Thirty four of these cases are still in the litigation process.

Esteban Conejos, undersecretary for migrant workers affairs, said that since January 2006 the department has handled 64 probable death row cases, 24 of which have been commuted.

Among the OFWs whose death sentences have been commuted were Marilou Ranario and Mae Vecina. Ranario allegedly stabbed her employer to death and was given the death sentence by the Kuwaiti court. Her sentence, however, was commuted to life imprisonment after a personal appeal of President Arroyo, who was then visiting Kuwait.

Vecina, meanwhile, was sentenced to death for killing her six-year old ward. She was spared from death after the Kuwaiti ruler signed a decree commuting her sentence to life imprisonment.

Some OFWs, however, are not as lucky as Vecina and Ranario. Based on our research, at least seven OFWs were executed abroad since 1995.Among the OFWs who were executed are as follows:

Flor Contemplacion, 1995
Contemplacion was convicted of killing fellow overseas Filipino worker Delia Maga and her Singaporean ward. She was executed by hanging on March 17, 1995. As a result of her execution, Philippine relations with Singapore turned sour and the country imposed a ban on sending domestic helpers in the island-state. The ban, however, was lifted a year after.

Four OFWs, 2005
On March 2005, four Filipinos were executed by beheading in the city of Taif, Saudi Arabia. Wilfredo Bautista, Antonio Alviza, Sergio Aldana, and Miguel Fernandez were executed after they were found guilty of killing and robbing fellow Filipino Jaime de la Cruz.

Reynaldo Cortez, 2007
Reynaldo Cortez, a welder at the Al-Allah Car Workshop in Riyadh, was beheaded using a sword after being found guilty of killing a Pakistani taxi driver in 2001. Cortez, however, claimed that the Pakistani tried to rape him. The death sentence was carried out after the family of the victims refused to accept 100,000 Saudi rials blood money.

Jenifer Bedoya, 2008
Jenifer Bedoya, also known as Venancio Ladion, was convicted of killing a Saudi national guard in Mecca by strangling him and piercing his neck. Bedoya was sentenced to death on April 2007 and the sentence was affirmed a year later. His execution on October pushed through despite the fact that President Gloria Arroyo had written two letters to Saudi Arabia’s king.