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Aug 13th
Home Sections Philippine Presidency Kuwait's Emir Grants President Arroyo's Appeal to Save Convicted OFW from Death Row
Kuwait's Emir Grants President Arroyo's Appeal to Save Convicted OFW from Death Row PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Philippine Presidency
Sunday, 09 December 2007 06:24

NEWS FLASH: Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al Sabah has spared Overseas-Filipino worker Marilou Ranario from the death penalty upon the personal appeal by President Arroyo.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said yesterday, Dec. 9, 2007, that the Kuwait’s Emir has promised not to sign the order for Ranario to be hanged for the killing of her employer in 2005.

In what could be a last-ditch effort to save the life of Marilou Ranario, President Arroyo flew Sunday  to the Middle East from Europe to meet with the Emir of Kuwait. President Arroyo sought executive clemency for the Filipino domestic worker who is facing death sentence for killing her employer.


Statement of the President on Marilou Ranario

(As Sent by the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC) 


"I am deeply grateful for the compassion of the Emir in commuting the sentence of death for Marilou Ranario. I hope it brings some small comfort to her family that Marilou will no longer have this fate hanging over her. This act of kindness by the Emir brings our two nations closer and reminds us all of our common humanity. Our nations may be separated by many miles and different religions, but we are bound by a common sense of justice and compassion. On behalf of the Philippine people and our overseas workers who often live lonely lives abroad, we will not forget this act of generosity."

* * * * 

Philippine Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya expressed optimism that the warm welcome awaiting the President could be a positive indication that Ranario could be granted clemency.

Malacañang explained Sunday that all the efforts being undertaken by the government to save the life of Ranario, including the trip of President Arroyo to Kuwait, demonstrates the importance of Overseas-Filipino workers to the President.

Portions of this article are excerpts from a news report written by Marvin Sy and Pia Lee Brago of The Philippine Star.

"The life of every Overseas Filipino is important," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye quoted the President as saying.

President Arroyo will meet with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during a six-hour stopover to discuss Ranario’s case over lunch after her visits to Spain and the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Arroyo and the Emir will have lunch at the Bayan Palace where she will ask for executive clemency on behalf of Ranario. After meeting with the Emir, the President would immediately head back to Manila.

The President’s personal plea before the Emir could very well be the last chance to secure clemency for Ranario, who was sentenced to death by hanging by the Kuwaiti judiciary.

Ambassador Endaya said the President’s meeting with the Emir of Kuwait and the state banquet that will be given in her honor are very "positive" indications that Ranario might be given clemency.

Editor's Note: Please see also our earlier report on the Ranario case at Update on Campaign to Save Filipina from Kuwait Death Row.

"The reception given to President Arroyo is very good. There is a state banquet at 1 p.m. to be given by the Emir," Ambassador Endaya said in a radio interview over the program "Para Sa Iyo Bayan" of Vice President Noli De Castro.

"The case of Ranario is on top of the agenda of the meeting. We hope something very good will come out of the meeting," the Filipino envoy said.

Reports reaching the Philippine Embassy said the Emir has reviewed Ranario’s case, including the tanazuls (letter of forgiveness) granted by the victim’s family.

Ambassador Endaya said Ranario has no knowledge about the death penalty verdict that was handed down on her by the Kuwaiti Supreme Court.

He noted that strict prison regulation prohibits any individual from informing a prisoner of the court’s decision imposing death penalty.

"Because of strict prison regulation, we are not allowed to say something. Even the inmates are not allowed to convey the court’s decision," he said.

Ambassador Endaya, together with several representatives from the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait and Ranario’s lawyers, had visited her in prison but the Filipino maid was not informed of the Court of Cassation’s decision.

The decision on Ranario’s case was flashed in a computer monitor outside the courtroom and she could not learn about it even if she was inside with her lawyers and embassy personnel, according to the Filipino envoy.

(Editor’s Note: Please see also our earlier report on the Ranario case at Update on Campaign to Save Filipina from Kuwait Death Row .)

Asked when the accused will be informed of the court decision, the Philippine ambassador said it would be conveyed to her only a week before the actual hanging.

The 34-year-old Ranario, despite a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, went to Kuwait in December 2003 to work as a domestic worker.

On Jan. 10, 2005, Ranario reportedly stabbed her female Kuwaiti employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, with a kitchen knife and killed her in the process.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, a counsel represented Ranario in every stage of the judicial proceedings.

A total of five top-caliber Kuwaiti lawyers were hired by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to represent Ranario during her trial.

Ranario declared in open court that she killed the victim and the prosecutors presented two eyewitness accounts to substantiate this.

Her defense contended that she was suffering from paranoia, a major mental disorder characterized by auditory hallucinations and delusions.

According to Ranario, her employer maltreated her by humiliating and insulting her in the presence of friends.

She claimed that her delusional belief that her employer had evil plans for her led to the commission of the crime.

The Kuwaiti court ordered Ranario to undergo psychological evaluation for four weeks. However, the results of the evaluation showed that she was mentally sound.

On Sept. 28, 2005, the Court of First Instance, Criminal Circuit, convicted Ranario of murder and sentenced her to death by hanging.

An appeal was made by the defense before the Court of Appeals but last February, the court sustained the death verdict.

The case was elevated to the Court of Cassation or the Supreme Court of Kuwait, which also affirmed the death penalty last November 27.

Ranario’s life is now in the hands of the Emir who has two to three months to decide on whether or not to sign the death warrant.

The Philippine government made high-level interventions through Vice President Noli De Castro, who personally delivered to the Emir the letter of the President seeking executive clemency.

DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo also personally interceded for Ranario with the Emir.

Tanazuls or letters of forgiveness signed by the victim’s mother, paternal brothers and sister were already secured and submitted to the Emir for request of clemency. A total of $320,000 was paid to secure the tanazuls.

The lawyer of Ranario is also negotiating with the victim’s estranged husband and maternal brother for the tanazul since this would be needed now that the high court has affirmed the death verdict.

The government has raised an additional $70,000 in blood money to be paid in exchange for the tanazul.

A native of Surigao del Norte, Ranario has two minor children with her common-law husband.

Ranario’s family fears that the Kuwaiti Emir will reject the 'tanazuls.' Despite the Philippine government’s confidence, Ranario’s relatives, however, said they fear that the Filipina might still be executed despite the scheduled meeting between the two leaders.

DFA Sec. Alberto Romulo also personally interceded for Ranario with the Emir.  The government raised an additional $70,000 in blood money to be paid in exchange for the tanazul.

They said the Kuwaiti Emir might not accept the tanazuls the President would present during their meeting.

"Hindi pa din mapapanatag ang loob ko hangga't hindi pa nakakabalik ang ate ko dito. Hangga't hindi pa namin siya nakakasama (We won't be at peace as long as my sister is not here with us)," said Wheng, Ranario’s sister.

For Ranario’s eldest son, Raffy John, his only wish is for his mother to be spared from death and released from prison before Christmas.

"Gusto ko po na matulungan ni Pangulong Gloria ang mama ko pauwi sa birthday ko at saka kahit pamasko na lang pauwiin ang mama ko (I want President Arroyo to help my mom so that she can come home for my birthday. Or as a Christmas gift, please bring my mom home)," Raffy John said. # # #

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Last Updated on Monday, 10 December 2007 05:36

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