By ANTHONY IAN CRUZ
Nov. 27, 2007
FIGHTING off tears, Rosario Ranario on Monday begged President Arroyo to “do everything in your power” to save his daughter Marilou whose death sentence may be affirmed by the Kuwaiti high tribunal today.
Marilou was sentenced to die by hanging by two lower courts for killing her Kuwaiti employer in 2005 whom she accused of beating her up and withholding her pay.
At a press conference yesterday, the elder Ranario asked the President, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya to exert all possible efforts to bring his daughter home to her husband and two children in time for Christmas.
“Pamasko na ninyo sa aming pamilya ito, Mrs. President,” said the elder Ranario. “Have pity on us and especially on my daughter’s children who may lose their mother,” he said in Filipino.
Lending full support to the Ranarios was Maita Santiago, secretary of Migrante International, who announced that protests and vigils dubbed as “Bantay Hatol” will be staged tomorrow in Manila, Baguio City and Surigao del Norte as part of last-ditch efforts to seek clemency from the Kuwaiti government.
The Ranarios hail from Surigao del Norte.
As part of Bantay Hatol, Migrante and Gabriela said they will mobilize 500 demonstrators today at the DFA office along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. Santiago said OFW organizations allied with Migrante will also stage demonstrations in front of Kuwaiti embassies and consulates in major cities abroad.
“The Arroyo government’s neglect of Marilou’s case is obvious and deplorable. There is nothing else the President should do now, but to do what she did not do ever since Marilou was detained in 2005. She must use her powers to save Marilou,” said Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza.
Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran said that he will bring to Congress’ attention the fate of Marilou and 30 other OFWs facing the death penalty. Maza said she will discuss with Speaker Jose de Venecia the possible adoption of a unanimous resolution expressing the sense of the House that Ranario be granted clemency and repatriated.
“It is infuriating that while Marilou stands in trial for murder, and while millions of other OFWs are enslaved in foreign lands, we see a neglectful government that is addicted to OFW remittances,” said Gabriela secretary-general Emmi de Jesus. “OFW remittances keep our economy afloat, but we see a lack of concern for the likes of Marilou.”
The Arroyo government estimates that money sent home by overseas workers will increase by five percent this year to reach $14.7-billion.