Philippines: Kin of OFW on death row hold noise barrage

Jun. 14, 2007

MANILA — In the wake of OFW Rey Cortez beheading in Saudi Arabia, family members, friends and members of Migrante International today held a noise barrage in Quezon City for Marilou Ranario, a Filipina migrant worker on death row in Kuwait.

Marilou is the victim she is a victim of grinding poverty in the Philippines and of Philippine government neglect of her case. If she befalls a fate similar to Rey Cortez, there is again no one to blame but the Arroyo government. Our noise barrage today affirms our commitment to intensify efforts to save Marilou and other OFWs still on death row, says Garry Martinez, Migrante International Spokesperson at the noise barrage in Brgy. Holy Spirit, where Marilous family lives in Quezon City.

The fact that she remains on death row already indicates a level of neglect. Her case should not have even gotten this far given that her actions were in self-defense, maintained Martinez.

Marilou, 34 years old, was charged with allegedly killing her female employer on 10 January 2005. A Kuwaiti court sentenced Marilou to death by hanging on 28 September 2005. Her case is now under final appeal with Kuwaits Cassation court.

Facts from Marilous case establish that she was maltreated and abused by her employers. The night before she allegedly stabbed her female employer to death, she overheard her employers plotting to have somebody rape her. Marilou was born on 17 August 1972 in Carigara, Leyte and was an elementary school teacher before going to work in Kuwait as a domestic helper. She is married and has two children.

Repatriate remains of Rey Cortez
For her part, Migrante International Chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado reiterated the plea of Rey Cortez wife for the repatriation of his remains. Melody Cortez earlier called on the DFA to take steps to bring her husbands remains home.

Given that the Arroyo regime failed Rey while he was alive, the least they can do is ensure his remains are now reunited with his family, especially his children. Its ironic that while hundreds of OFWs are set to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia, the Arroyo administration cant ensure the repatriation of the remains one OFW who was hit with the most extreme form of injustice overseas, said Bragas-Regalado during her visit with Melody Cortez and Reys family in Guagua, Pampanga.

From Flor Contemplacions execution in 1995, the beheading of four OFWs in Saudi Arabia in 2005 to Rey Cortez execution yesterday the bitter plight of OFWs heightens. For as long as the Philippine government relies on the export of Filipino workers to prop up its ailing economy, there will always be OFWs languishing on death row and in prison overseas, said Bragas-Regalado.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, there are 33 OFWs on death row and approximately 5,000 in prison. Other OFWs on death row include Rodelio Don Don Lanuza.

Don Don, was detained in 15 August 2000 for allegedly killing a Saudi Arabian national. The Dammam Grand Court in Saudi Arabia sentenced Don Don to death by beheading on 10 June 2002. #

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