Sentenced to death for murder in Kuwait, the Filipina's sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment.
MANILA, Philippines--PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Sunday saved Marilou Ranario from the gallows after the Chief Executive secured from the Kuwaiti ruler a commutation of the Filipino maid's death sentence to life imprisonment for killing her Arab employer, Malacañang announced.First I'll make clear that I'm married to a Filipina, and in addition one of my Philippine sister-in-laws worked for two years in Saudi Arabia.
In a statement, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye quoted Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah as telling the President during a 25-minute meeting in his palace that "normally, I don't interfere in the judicial process.
"But since you are here to personally appeal for her, I will not sign the decree of execution. That is within my power ... I will reduce the penalty to life and when the other parties sign the forgiveness, I will further reduce the penalty," said the emir, according to Bunye.
Arroyo thanked the emir for his "compassion," said Bunye. She also agreed to stay overnight in Kuwait upon the ruler's invitation and return home on Tuesday instead of Monday as earlier scheduled.
The President flew to Kuwait Sunday en route home from an eight-day official visit to Spain and Britain and a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France.
She was accompanied on her Kuwait stop by a small party that included Foreign Secretary Aberto Romulo, Sen. Edgardo Angara, Ambassador Ricardo Endaya, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzalez Jr. and Bunye.
"The life of every overseas Filipino is important," Bunye quoted the President as saying, before Arroyo and her party headed to Kuwait after the meeting with the emir was confirmed.
Ranario, 33, a school teacher who left her two children to try her luck in the desert emirate, was sentenced to death for killing her female employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mubarak, 46, on Jan. 11, 2005, for allegedly mistreating her and insulting Filipinos.
Ranario said she had suffered physical abuse, lack of food and rest, and the non-payment of her salary.
To those not acquainted with the Philippines, the involvement of the Philippine President in Ranario's case would look unusual. Could you see President Bush doing this? The circumstances are alot different. For a nation of 89 million, the Philippines exports three million people a year to work abroad. These Filipinos and Filipinas then send a portion of their earnings home to support their families. Filipinos working abroad have considerable influence at home. So Arroyo's intercession isn't surprising.
Nobody knows for sure what happened in Kuwait. There has been a history of Filipinas being abused and mistreated when working in the middle east. Filipina maid sometimes meaning potential mistress to some employers. Was any of this going on in Ranario's case? Possibly. Does it justify murder? I don't know the facts.
My wife and mother-in-law are the strong opinion Ranario was in a abusive situation and what she did was in self defense. I don't know. Say a prayer for Ranario, a life sentence in a Kuwait prison isn't likely to be pleasant.
Linked to- Jo, Leaning Straight Up, Populist, Pursuing Holiness, Rosemary, Stop the ACLU, Stuck on Stupid,