APRIL 29, 2011, RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Another Filipino worker in Saudi Arabia accused of drug charges freed today early morning, according to OFW Congress, an OFW advocacy group based in Riyadh.
Citing a report from the Philippine embassy in Riyadh, the Filipino, whose identity was withheld upon request of the family, was apprehended on September 2010. The Overseas Filipino Worker were accosted in an entrapment operation by Saudi authorities on an alleged tip off that the Filipino was engaged in selling shabu known as poor man’s cocaine.
On November of 2010, the Filipino along with his companion was charged of Drug Pushing. A heinous crime in Saudi Arabia by which if proven guilty will receive harsh judgment by the Saudi court and that includes beheading.
OFW Congress wrote a formal request for assistance with Philippine Embassy prompted the Assistance to National section of the Embassy to verify the case.
For the past seven months, persistent diplomatic efforts were made to follow up the case in order to avoid severe judgment from the court.
The Philippine post exerted more effort and pressed for royal clemency. The embassy included the name of the OFW in the list submitted to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, for the grant of royal clemency.
The Embassy’s efforts was favorably acted upon, the OFW was eventually released from jail and flown back to Philippines early morning of Friday, 29 April 2011.
Clemency in drug related cases however, prevents the OFW to return back to Saudi Arabia for employment and to other Gulf countries in the Middle East as well.
The Filipino worker is the 4th Filipino freed on drug related cases in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2011. Just recently a Filipino sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia was released successfully through the embassy. Earlier, Michael Roque was released from prison in February 2011, while Nonito Abono was released in November 2010.
The OFW Congress-Riyadh and the OFWempowerment blog is thankful to Charge D’ Affaires, Consul General Ezzedin Tago and to the Assistance To Nationals section of the Philippine Embassy particularly, ATN head Atty. Roussel Reyes and post representatives Jerome Friaz, Mr. Macapundag and Mr. Haris for the job well done.
To the recruitment agency of the OFW in the Philippines and to his employer who made an important contribution for the early resolution of the case. -end- BongA