March 16, 2017
Migrante Europe joins the worldwide call to seek justice and save the life of Jennifer Dalquez. Jennifer was sentenced to death on May 20, 2015 by the Al Ain Court in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates for defending herself against her employer who attempted to rape her.
Jennifer, 30 years old, is married and mother to two children. She was born and raised in a poor community of General Santos City, in the southern island of Mindanao.
Jennifer came to the UAE in December 2011 to work as a domestic worker. She reported that her first employer tried to rape her. Later, she worked as a cashier in a restaurant and then as a doctor’s assistant. Additionally, she performed rounds of cleaning work at different households on a part time basis, to acquire more savings as she was planning to go back to the Philippines for good on January 2015.
According to Rajima Dalquez, Jennifer’s mother, it was in the course of Jennifer’s part-time cleaning that she met her last employer. An Emirati police officer contacted her to clean their home. Hard at work, the police officer attempted to rape Jennifer at knifepoint. She fought back and was able to get hold of the knife. In trying to defend herself, she killed the rapist. Five days later, on December 12, 2014, Jennifer was arrested and was charged for murder.
The court of appeals in Al Ain Judicial Court has postponed its ruling on Jennifer’s case from February 27, to March 27th.
Her fate now lies in the hands of her victim’s two children, who will attend the March 27 hearing at the court’s order. During the hearing, if the two children will swear that Jennifer killed their father, then the Court of First Instance will sentence her to death, and if not the “dia” or blood money shall apply.
“Self defense is a natural right and no woman should ever be denied the right to defend herself against a violent, sexual predator. Jennifer should never be denied the right to save herself, knowing that she was in the face of grave danger,” stated Fr. Herbert Fadriquela Jr., Migrante Europe Chairperson.
Jennifer is among 92 overseas Filipino workers currently in death row, according to the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs. In the Middle East alone, there are about 7,000 overseas Filipinos languishing in jail, clamoring for assistance from the Manila government. Philippine migrants’ organizations, such as Migrante International, have long demanded the provision of greater government resources to distressed migrants, given the migrants’ crucial role in keeping the Philippine economy afloat.
According to the latest update of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the cash sent by overseas-based Filipinos increased by 18.4% in November last year from a year ago. This brought total remittances for the first 11 months of 2016 to $26.9 billion, a 5.1% increase from the same period in 2015.
Fr. Herbert added: “We call on the Duterte government to allocate legal assistance funds as stipulated in the Magna Carta for Migrant workers amounting to P100 million ($2.27million) for distressed OFWs.”
“We hope for a dialogue with Philippine embassies in Europe, through Migrante leaders and other concerned groups, to discuss urgent issues of OFWs particularly the proper and concrete allocation of PhP5 billion of unreimbursed terminal fees for the benefit of migrant Filipinos and their families,” Fr. Herbert continued.
Migrante Europe and its members across Europe will organize protest actions and pickets to call for justice and clemency for Jennifer Dalquez and for all unjustly jailed Filipinos around the globe, particularly in the Middle East. In the United Kingdom, Filipino migrants will conduct a candle light vigil in front of the UAE Embassy on March 25 to save the life of Jennifer Dalquez.
Revd Fr. Herbert F. Fadriquela Jr.
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