Press Release
February 19, 2017

Villar urges DFA to save Jennifer Dalquez from UAE's death row

Senator Cynthia Villar urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to step up its efforts to provide OFW Jennifer Dalquez the legal assistance necessary to obtain an acquittal in a death sentence case in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dalquez has been sentenced to death for killing her employer in December 7, 2014. The OFW's mother said her daughter was arrested after stabbing her employer who was attempting to rape her.

"We cannot and should not allow the execution of yet another innocent OFW," Villar said, referring to the recent execution of OFW Jatakia Pawa, a domestic worker who maintained her innocence up to the very minute of her life.

DFA sources expect that the UAE's Court of First Instance will issue a decision on Dalquez's case on February 27. The decision would either affirm or overturn the death sentence issued by a lower court. An affirmation of the sentence would lead to the transmittal of the case to UAE's highest court.

Prior to her execution, the 44-year old Pawa maintained that she was innocent of the crime of murder considering that she had no motive to kill her employer's daughter and her DNA prints did not match the DNA found on the murder weapon. Her employer's daughter was 22 years old.

Jatakia Pawa was executed on January 25, 2017 catching even the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment by surprise. According to the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait, the host government only gave them a notice of 18 hours prior to the execution.

"Let us not repeat the same mistake of being caught by surprise, and failing to provide the family with timely and relevant information as seen in the case of Jatakia Pawa. The DFA must leave no stone unturned in providing quality legal assistance to Jennifer Dalquez," Villar said.

The senator also thanked Taiwan's Supreme Court for commuting to life imprisonment the death sentence of two Filipinos convicted for murder.

Gary Song-Huann Lin, Taiwan's representative to the Philippines, announced yesterday that clemency was granted to Nemencia Armia and Darwin Gorospe Sarmiento. Both Filipinos can be eligible for parole after serving a number of years in prison as required by Taiwan's law and if they would exhibit good behavior while under detention.

Villar thanked Taiwan's Supreme Court for its decision to commute the death sentence in two separate cases involving Filipino nationals. She, however, stressed that it would be up to the two Filipino inmates to use that second opportunity to reform their lives and do good for their families and communities.

"While we should never condone any form of crime, we must also be thankful to Taiwan and its Supreme Court for this humanitarian decision. Considering that there are 71 Filipinos on death row, it is good news that two lives have just been spared," the senator said.

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