Kuwait’s high court affirmed the death sentence on a Filipina housemaid who pleaded innocent to the charge of murdering her employer’s daughter, the Department of Foreign Affairs said.
The Kuwaiti Court of Cassation upheld this week the verdict on Jakatia Pawa, 34 years old and a native of Zamboanga Sibugay province, to die by hanging for killing the 22-year-old daughter of her employer, for whom she has worked for over five years.
Foreign Affairs undersecretary for migrant workers’ affairs Esteban Conejos Jr. said the Philippine government is working for the issuance of tanazul or forgiveness from the victim’s family to save Pawa from the death penalty.
“After achieving this, Vice President Noli De Castro will go to Kuwait to hand over a written letter from President Arroyo to the Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah to ask for commutation of her sentence from death to life imprisonment," Conejos said in a press briefing.
Conejos expressed hopes that Pawa will be spared the death penalty, as with the case of Filipina domestics Marilou Ranario and Mae Vecina.
Vecina, a 30-year-old mother from North Cotabato, was sentenced to death for killing her employer’s seven-year-old son in 2007, but was granted full pardon by the emir last year for good behavior.
Also sentenced to death was Marilou Ranario, a 35-year-old mother from Surigao del Norte, for murdering her female employer, but her sentence was similarly commuted two years later.
Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya said he was dismayed with the court decision on Pawa, even as he noted that the court decision must be respected.
He maintained that Pawa is innocent and that there is no solid evidence to convict the OFW. Endaya said the knife which was used in the murder does not have Pawa’s fingerprints, and there was no blood stain on her dress or body that could link her to the crime.
Pawa pleaded not guilty to the charge in an earlier hearing, telling the court that one of the victim’s family members might have committed the crime.
She revealed that family members had stronger motives to kill the victim because of an alleged illicit love affair with a male neighbor.
Around 73,000 Filipinos are working in oil-rich Kuwait, including 60,000 women employed mostly as domestic helpers, earning less than US $200 on the average. – Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV