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                                                                                                   Refer to: Ms. Dale Zapata

After talking to the Kuwaiti Emir and the discovery                                                   of additional pieces of evidence                                                                                    VP NOLI UPBEAT ON SAVING OFW FROM DEATH

07 March  2006

The mission of Presidential Adviser on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro seems to be headed on a positive note this early in his trip.

This optimism came about after Vice President De Castro got an assurance from the newly-installed Emir of Kuwait that the latter would do what he can to spare the life of OFW Marilou Ranario, a 33 year-old teacher who went to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait and who was sentenced to death by hanging last September 28, 2005 for the killing of her Kuwaiti employer.

After extending his condolences on the death of their beloved Emir Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and congratulating the new Emir Sheik Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on behalf of the Filipino people, the Vice President brought up with Emir Sheik Sabah the Ranario case which was his other principal mission in going to Kuwait.

For his part, the new emir briefly explained to Vice President De Castro the Kuwaiti justice system for a better understanding of the options still open to save Ranario’s life and, thereafter, gave his much welcomed assurance.

Another reason for optimism is the newly gathered additional evidence that would greatly help the Ranario defense.

The Vice President announced that though they are not yet at liberty to disclose additional details in order not to jeopardize other legal strategies that may be employed, he welcomed the news from the Ranario defense team led by a former brigadier general of the Kuwaiti police force. Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño and lawyer Jesse Andres who are with the Vice President in the trip would also aid Ranario in her defense.

A team of doctors from a Kuwaiti University are also expected to look into the mental condition of Ranario. The team’s report would hopefully support the findings of National Center for Mental Health specialist Bernardino Vicente that favored Ranario’s defense of temporary insanity.

Vice President De Castro also revealed that he has not talked about the offer of blood money yet to the family of the victim. Foremost in the Philippine delegation’s mission is the commutation of the sentence to life imprisonment. It would be then easier to work for her release after the commutation.

On Sunday, Vice President De Castro got the support of other OFWs in Kuwait for their prayers in support of Ranario’s plight after he attended a mass with them. The Vice President had nothing but praises for the over 85,000 OFWs in Kuwait who were recognized as highly qualified, devoted, honest and ‘perfect’. He hopes that this high regard for OFWs would somehow help Ranario’s plight when the time comes for the new Emir to render his final decision.

Vice President De Castro also announced that some 50 OFWs stranded in the Philippine embassy would be repatriated home soon.                                                                                             HOME | back-to-top

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