Wife stunned by husband’s execution in Saudi Arabia: ‘I was just talking to him’
KORONADAL CITY, Philippines–The wife of the Filipino overseas worker executed in Saudi Arabia on Monday was stunned by news that her husband was already gone.
“I just talked to him at 11 a.m. (Philippine time Monday) and he never mentioned anything about execution, now he is gone,” Nerlyn Otero Esteva, 39, wife of OFW Joven Esteva, told the Inquirer minutes after a relative told her about the news on national TV.
“It is so painful, why I was not informed, why it happened so fast, I should have been informed by Philippine authorities,” Nerlyn said in between sobs, while clutching her youngest child. She has four all-male children aged 16, 14, 13 and 11.
Estava, who killed his Saudi employer in 2007, was executed in Riyadh around 2 p.m. Monday (9 a.m. Saudi time).
Nerlyn said her husband, a family driver, has been in jail since 2007 and was convicted of killing his Saudi employer and his son.
In a statement, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Charles Jose said the government had provided Esteva with all the necessary and appropriate legal and consular assistance, including providing a lawyer.
“Regrettably, despite efforts of the Philippine government, the family of victim refused to grant forgiveness,” he said.
Nerlyn recalled her husband worked as driver of a Saudi university professor. He has been treated well until he experienced insomnia and “health problem.”
“He admitted he stabbed to death his employer after an altercation and the employer’s son because he was not allowed to return home then by not providing him money,” Nerlyn said, adding that Joven also stabbed himself in an attempt to commit suicide.
Before the stabbing incident, Nerlyn said, her husband’s employer refused to give him money for his ticket home. His parents in Koronadal City sent him money for his ticket but the employer allegedly kept it. That triggered the murder, she said.
Nerlyn said her husband and the DFA lawyer wanted her and her four children to go to Riyadh to talk to the victim’s relatives. “I was processing our travel documents until today (Monday).”
“We appealed every Ramadhan, we sent a letter to the family seeking forgiveness, to no avail,” Nerlyn said. Her husband has converted to Islam as well.
Nerlyn said the victim’s children would agree for settlement through “blood money” but not the wife.
Joselyn Otero, Nerlyn’s mother, said the family was stunned, really stunned.
“We were watching movie on TV at home and did not watch the evening news. A relative relayed the sad news,” she said.
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